What is "The Pilgrimage" and why am I running it?

The run timeline: 
Day 1 = March 25th.  ~18-21 consecutive days of an average of 20-30 miles running each day to arrive at the coast just beyond the town of Santiago de Compostela.  I plan to arrive by April 15th to put my toes in the sand and waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

"What is The Pilgrimage?"  I thought this very question just a short time ago having recently become acquainted with the Pilgrimage myself.  As cliché as it may sound, I learned about the journey and historical significance of the Pilgrimage from the film The Way.  I know, I know…how American to learn about an age-old religious tradition and journey representing a right of passage from those in Hollywood.

[Historical facts and references to come]  

Although the film was the catalyst for this idea, the significance and coincidental timing of already being in Spain for graduation from IE Business School with a Master's in Sports Management gave me motivation and reality to my own experience of the Pilgrimage that I have entitled, in it's most obvious description, "Running The Pilgrimage".  No less relevant as a life changing experience, the idea of the journey came full circle for me once I decided to research what the Pilgrimage was all about after watching the film.  

The curiosity about this route or "camino" as its referred to in Spanish spilled over as I learned of it's historical significance and the fact that a trail existed traveling the entire distance across Spain and has been traveled by "Pilgrims" for more than a millennia dating as far back as the 8th century.  This trail is most commonly known as "El Camino de Santiago" or The Way of St. James.

Excitement quickly set in due to my newfound passion or "obsession" with ultra running and traveling to foreign countries both equally blossoming during my late twenties.  I found the camino to be the perfect way to blend both passions into one unforgettable life experience.  I thought to myself, "Why not run the camino?  Is it possible?  Of course it's possible!"  If you can walk/hike the path in an average of one month you can certainly run the path.  

Thus began the next step in research.   Learning about the distances between towns, studying elevation charts and gathering weather data around the dates I would be running the path became my next goal setting activity further perpetuating my ultra running endeavors.  More on those endeavors later, but think UTMB 2014…  

With the journey now firmly in place the plan is to begin running the Camino de Santiago on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 beginning in St. Jean Pied de Port, France.  St. Jean is situated in the South of France on the Eastern side of the Pyrenees mountain range running along the border of France and Spain.  Day 1 of the journey will find me on a trail at the foothills of the Pyrenees out of St. Jean and traveling ~18 miles and climbing nearly 5,000 feet of elevation to cross over the ridge top and begin traversing down into my first overnight stay in a small town called Roncesvalles, Spain.

Stage summaries: http://www.caminosantiagodecompostela.com/camino-de-santiago-frances/part-1-st-jean-granon/1-st-jean-pied-de-port-roncesvalles/

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