The Camino de Santiago consists of a set of pilgrimage routes that have existed for over 1,000 years. The routes have various starting points, but all end at the Cathedral of Santiago de Campostela in northwestern Spain. The pilgrimage is undertaken by tens of thousands every year.
Wikipedia says "Traditionally, as with most pilgrimages, the Way of Saint James [Camino de Santiago] began at one's home and ended at the pilgrimage site. However a few of the routes are considered main ones." Camino de Francés is the "spine" in the network onto witch many of the other routes link. Most Caminos north of Spain go to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (another Saint James site) and from there the Camino de Francés go to Santiago as indicated in the gpx file. The wider net of pilgrimage routes offer many challenges and some are part of the Grand Randonee (GR) network. This route is part of GR65 from Geneva to Santiago. In modern times the route is used not only for pilgrimage, but also recreational, historic/touristic and as long distance challenge. The route is now shared by hikers, runners, cyclists and horse riders.
Please note that the route is in some places shared with car traffic but since it is so well known as pilgrimage route drivers will be careful.
Regarding FKTs, there appears to be quite a bit of controversy about this, with various reports that seem to have sketchy verification, which has been outlined on our old website. As always, we recommend people announce their intentions in advance, and carry satellite (or cell phone) trackers with the tracks being made available in real time to an independent third party.
Some of the controversy was outlined by a poster on 4/7/2014:
there's been a huge controversy in Spain's ultra-running circles and social media since November 2013 when this guy (twitter.com/SteelmanXtreme) allegedly did the Camino de Santiago (Roncesvalles - Santiago) in 5d 17h. Source: www.runandwalk.net/articulo/actualidad/quim-navarro-bate-record-camino-santiago-autosuficiencia/201312012005055160.html (in Spanish).
According to what he said to the media, he originally departed from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France and finished his so-called "challenge" in Finisterre, Spain (890 km and 14500 m+ gain) in 6d 18h 22m. He said he carried a 30-kilo backpack to make the whole thing on an unsupported fashion. Source: www.sportraining.es/2013/12/07/steelman-x-el-hombre-de-acero-de-la-ultradistancia/ (in Spanish).
He didn't report stamps from any stopover on the Camino but the last one in Finisterre (which is given to anyone who claims to have walked from Santiago to Finisterre). Nor he provided any GPS track. During his Camino, there was no way on his website or anywhere else to follow him as no On-the-Spot GPS tracker was used.
There's a whole lot of additional info about this story here (in Spanish), for those interested: www.elatleta.com/foro/showthread.php?154423-R%C3%A9cord-del-Camino-de-Santiago-(menos-de-6-d%C3%ADas)
By the way, the FKT is said to be held by Alfredo Uria, a very well-known ultra-distance runner, who did Roncesvalles - Santiago in 6d 16h in 2007. Source: www.diariodenavarra.es/actualidad/noticia.asp?not=2007051020142212&dia=20070510&seccion=navarra&seccion2=sociedad (in Spanish).
Another remarkable time is held by Fernanda Maciel, who did it in 2012 from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in just over 10 days. Source: trailrunningspain.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/the-camino-by-fernanda-maciel-900km-of-trail-running-in-10-days-whiteflow-from-st-jean-pied-de-port-to-santiago-along-the-way-of-saint-james/ plus Video and Interview with split times and stages (in Spanish).
EDIT January 2023
This is the full "Camino francés" available on the web: https://us01.z.antigena.com/l/DdSA3caVEq303n1LIIV5k5VNd6BPaQmVJlK5dOqUbexToyO4zZxe_wzOT-52AIlUrrZdj5gOebmSXiXTT-Cw2LfGiMGXqX8bDP5PjrozWLycwU0606DGS0VVVKPbiRV~Ef4YDkA-wBp0YLg5Y7WOzxEAU8763k
Hello, Why is not there Marcio Villar (Brasil) and last one Miguel Mataix (Spain)? That did it in August 2018 in 6d and 10 h.
I’m on my way to Saint Jean Pied de Port in France now to start my journey to Santiago de Compostella. I’ll be aiming for the FKT self-supported in around 9 days. I dont know yet if it will be just under 9 days or over. But I’ll do my best.
I’ll be starting this thursday at 11:00 from Saint Jean Pied de Port. If you want to follow what I’m doing and how it’s going you can follow me at Instagram where my name is ” maxpisano ”. I’ll be updating with the Pilgrime stamps and my Garmin/Strava map in the end of everyday and also alot of photos/videos from the (probably long) day.
Wish me luck!!
We are curious how this went for you. No FKT entry came by?
I think I will be doing female unsupported in Aug 2023. I'll let you know:) will have spot check.