Ariel Laguilles will take on the never done challenge of running the Ignatian Way from Azpeitia to Manresa, and setting a record in the process. What is the challenge you ask? 406 MILES | 8 DAYS | 35 Villages.
But more than setting a record, Ariel and the team want to promote this beautiful and historical path, the same one St. Ignatius of Loyola embarked on in 1522. This pilgrimage led St. Ignatius to develop what is now known as the Spiritual Exercises, which serve as the framework for Ignatian Spirituality. Varsity Sports & Educational Tours will assist with fundraising, promotion and overall logistics of THE IGNATIAN RUN.
"I see this experience as an intersection of some of the significant parts of my life, as a product of Jesuit education, an Ignatian educator, and as a competitive runner. Running the Camino Ignaciano will be a unique pilgrimage experience and I am grateful to have the opportunity to make this pilgrimage in my own unique way. I approach this challenge with joy, and I welcome the challenges, revelations, and moments of grace that it will surely bring. "- Ariel
Born outside of Washington, DC, Ariel attended Catholic schools, grew up learning the piano, and was an avid tennis player. Following his older brothers´ footsteps he attended Gonzaga College High School, an all boys Jesuit high school located in Washington, DC. Here he was introduced to Jesuit education, Ignatian spirituality, and serving others. He continued his studies at Boston College where he majored in Sociology and Hispanic Studies, participated in retreats, and service programs.
After his studies, Ariel lived in Managua, Nicaragua as a Jesuit Volunteer, teaching both physical education and English. Ariel returned to his alma mater, Gonzaga High School where he currently teaches Spanish, serves as the Chair for the Modern Language Department, and coaches cross country.
Ariel has been running competitively for over 20 years and has competed in races ranging from one mile road races to ultra distance trail races. He is highly involved in the local running community in Washington D.C., and works part time for Pacers Running, a local retail running company located in the DC area, which is supporting this endeavor as well.
We have started this campaign primarily to:
- Raise funds to promote, improve the infrastructure of, and raise awareness for the Ignatian Way. - Support Ariel in completing this amazing pilgrimage. A crew will follow him throughout the run in order to provide him with logistical support, hydration and nutrition, gear, and lodging.
Ariel will also be attempting to set the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Ignatian Way.
While a portion of funds will be used to help offset costs to support this challenge, the majority/rest of the funds will be used to improve the infrastructure signage of the Ignatian Way with the guidance of caminoignaciano.org
“Running can definitely be a spiritual experience. The Daily Examen is a practice developed by St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. The Examen is a technique that allows us to become more aware of God’s presence in our lives, discern what our purpose is, and to see a bit clearer how He works within and around us. Through running, I am gifted the space and opportunity for prayer and reflection; I devote some time during my longer runs to praying the Examen.” - Ariel