A Virtual Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago

Travel and running is a perfect joyful combination. Over the past year, I couldn’t travel, but I could run. Through 2020, I took part in a number of virtual races and runs for numerous causes. I also found one where I could travel vicariously while running. The Conqueror series plants trees based on the miles participants complete (my completed route will account for 20 trees).

I have long considered walking/running one of the routes of the Camino de Santiago across France and Spain. When I saw this as one of more than twenty virtual routes offered on the Conqueror events website, I was in. To reach my goal to complete this route, I am doing it with many other virtual participants around the world.

Making progress along the 480 miles of the Camino. I’ve done 160 with 320 miles to go. The Conqueror website includes a map view of the location as well as a Google street view. It also shows the temperature and time of day where I have completed my last mileage.

On the Camino, some of those street views are charming towns where I would be walking down a narrow street. Other times, I am walking/running a flat plain that seems to go on and on. This actually has me rethinking my potential travel list. There are probably more than one reason this is a pilgrimage. 

As I am running it virtually, I’m aware of how tough it would be to move along in a hard rain and wind or with intense sun coming down. There isn’t much in the way of shade for some of those long stretches of the Camino.

Having said that, the Conqeror sends beautiful postcards at certain mileposts that have historic interest. And maybe some of the delicious meals in the inns near the Camino would make it all worthwhile.

My travel bug is also fed by other participants who post photos of the trails, streets and roads where they are actually getting their miles in. I’ve seen photos posted of participating hikers making their way through Swiss mountains, runners on city streets in the USA and Europe and others snowshoeing their miles on forest trails in Canada. I’ve posted a few myself of my actual routes along Pennsylvania’s rural roads and the Greenbelt along the Susquehanna.

While I chose to do a walk/run, there are a variety of exercises that participants can choose to complete their miles. For those who are not running, cycling, etc. there is a conversion chart for more than 50 activities. My favorite is a 92-year old woman who posted about her progress as she goes up and down her steps every day for her mileage. Others convert their yoga and cross-fit activity.

At the rate I am making progress, I may be back to actually traveling and running while I complete this virtual trek. And that’s fine. I’m ready – oh so ready – to travel.

Are you ready to travel and run? Are you anticipating registeration for upcoming races? What is your latest – and hopefully the last until we can race again – virtual challenge?

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