Success Story: Finding Myself With Runtastic

You are not alone. You want this. Determined to find your inner self, you want to go on a pilgrimage where no road has taken you before. In the end, you want to know whether you really found yourself – and you will. With Runtastic, you’ll always know where you are and how many kilometers you’ve already left behind. No matter if you’re crossing the first pass in the Alps or kilometer 127 on the Iberic plateau.

My name is Christian Altenweisl and I had the chance to become a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago for 76 days. I believe you all know these thoughts: How do I want to live my life? Who and what is really important to me? And, first and foremost, who am I? In our everyday lives we don’t attach enough importance to these questions. Instead, we focus on the next deadline, where we’re going next and plans we have for drinks with friends. We leave no time to reflect on those questions.

We are not alone. When on the Way of Stars –  way ancient pilgrims used the milky way in the night sky for orientation – you find out how many people feel the same way you feel. Swiss individualists, recently retired French couples, a funny mix of unemployed people or those who’ve decided to spend their 2 week vacation walking, walking and walking.

I started my journey in the Tyrolean village of Obertilliach, Austria, because “el camino comienza en su casa” – it all starts at home. If your time and other resources allow for this self discovery, be happy and make it happen. To embark on a pilgrimage towards your inner self, you have to really want it. It’s your willingness that counts – and it will be your (only) company. Runtastic, meanwhile, tells you how many kilometers you’ve covered every day, how fast you went, and you will sure be amazed by your performance.

You’ll live off the experience you make on YOUR way for a long time – and I want to share my top 5 with you today. As different as every single human is, as different are their ways.

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1. August 15th, 2014 – Let’s go!

My start from Obertilliach into the mountains of Upper Adige, Italy. Runtastic shows me where I am and I get to put a number on the feeling in my hips, legs and tense back: 50.3 km! Plus, I have to spend my first night outdoors, in a bike cabin.

2. August 19th, 2014 – New old home

From Brenner Pass to Innsbruck, Austria. Knowing I’ll be able to spend a first rest day in the city I now call my home motivates me to walk faster and a glance at my Runtastic app fills me with pride this evening: 55.6 km, 10:35 hours, 4,205 calories burned. I fill up on those calories with my pilgrimage companion.

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3. September 1st, 2014 – Monastery & hospitality

Some days have more in store for you. After leaving a center of pilgrimage in Switzerland, I walk along beautiful lakes, after the Runtastic app provided me with the necessary energy to cross a mountain pass the night before. The result: 48.8 km, 3000 m elevation difference, almost 11 hours on the road. That’s what the camino throughout Switzerland has to offer.

4. September 17th, 2014 – France, mon amour!

Haute-Loire is the charming French version of our Alpine paradise. Every human being who loves moving surrounded by nature can’t help but fall in love with this country – especially if it resembles your own. The best part: with the French pilgrimage center of Le Puy-en-Velay in front of you, even your longest walks turn into wonderful memories you love to look back on (both metaphorically and literally on a screen). That day, I covered 44.5 km with an elevation difference of 2,782  in 9:20 hours, reached one of my biggest stage goals and experienced an inspiring encounter with a veteran fellow pilgrim. All people are amazingly different.

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5. October 10th, 2014 – Many people, many ways

You will get to know yourself on that journey and every single day you spend walking, being honest with yourself, will bring you closer to those people who are like you. That day, I was lucky to wander the world with an adorable, lively Russian-Spanish woman and Runtastic by my side. During some stages, you’re about to break and you need all your willpower, as well as help from others, to keep going.

So, these are my favorite 5 experiences from my pilgrimage. Every human being is different and, for me, Runtastic was a huge support on my first 2,500 km. The app guided me, patted my back, made me feel proud – and after accompanying me throughout the day, it demanded a power outlet at night. Honestly, that was not always easy, sometimes stressful. Good thing that there are tools like battery packs and solar panels.

Today I look back, visualizing my hiking pole, my backpack, my camping mat, and I am grateful. Those things helped me go my way. I also think of my phone, which was swallowed by lion León (too metaphorical? Okay, it was stolen in the Spanish region of Castilla y León). I am thankful for these things and the support they provided. But the camino is all about one thing: getting rid of your baggage. And when you finally arrive at Santiago de Compostela, one thing’s for sure: now your real journey starts!

Throughout this experience, Runtastic has been a loyal companion and great help. I am grateful for having this app by my side for the largest part of my journey, as I am for the last part where it was just me. Now I know what pilgrimage means, know its challenges. Plus, I know that Runtastic will accompany me on my next quest – maybe you’ll hear from me again after my first triathlon, who knows! Meanwhile, I wish you all “Bon courage!” on your way to your self, and I wish you the willpower to do what you really want!

Christian Altenweisl

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