The Argentine cartoonist who put a face to Harry Potter and runs marathons in the Sahara desert

Known as the illustrator of the Harry Potter face of the Spanish edition of the famous wizard books most loved by teenagers, Dolores AvendanoShe also has another facet in her life that she is passionate about: being an ultra marathoner. She participated in races in the Himalayas, in the Sahara desert, in Mongolia and in Antarctica, but now she decided to put aside the competitions to enjoy hiking with her husband in the middle of nature.

Escobar’s neighbor remembers her beginning in adventure sports: “As a teenager I saw myself running long distances, but I didn’t. I went for a 15-minute run because I liked desserts a lot, to exercise. But when I turned 30 the token fell to me that if I wanted to fulfill my dream of running, it was not going to come true. I joined a training group and ran for 20 minutes, finished ground. It was last, but despite that I kept dreaming of running 42 kilometers, so I didn’t stop ”.

Dolores was not going to give up until she fulfilled it. She has always been used to challenging herself and meeting goals. When he decided study illustration, with a lot of support and effort from her parents, she went to New York pursuing his desire to be able to work on children’s books. “A month after starting the race, two of the three teachers I had told me to study something else because it was going to cost me a lot to get a job as an illustrator and I was not among the outstanding students. It was my dream, I decided to go ahead ”.

The illustration and his dream come true. When he illustrated the first Harry Potter book, he never thought of the impact it was going to cause.

Once it was received, he did not run away from his focus on achieving his goal. “I looked for work with all the desire and with everything I could give. My life was 100% for illustration, there were no weekends, holidays or vacations, “recalled Avendaño.

When he returned to Argentina, the proposal to illustrate the cover of a ‘wizard boy’. Without knowing the repercussions this was going to generate, he accepted the offer. “Since I was little I liked fairy tales and the fantastic, that’s why I loved Harry Potter from the beginning. At the time I illustrated the first book, I had no idea of ​​the dimension it was going to have, I enjoyed it a lot, now Harry Potter is almost a historical fact and I am deeply grateful ”.

After finishing work with Harry Potter, he began preparing to fulfill another item on his dream list: running a marathon. Her first race was in New York, 42 ​​kilometers long, finishing 214th out of 12,000 women. “I was very excited when I crossed the finish line. I was so happy that a person I didn’t know gave me a supportive hug, ”she remembers with a laugh.

Summit in Los Penitentes. In Argentina he also competed in marathons in Entre Ríos, Tucumán, Villa la Angostura and Pinamar.

Summit in Los Penitentes. In Argentina he also competed in marathons in Entre Ríos, Tucumán, Villa la Angostura and Pinamar.

“‘Now what?’ I wondered when I finished the marathon. A month after running, my coach showed me a photo of some runners in the Sahara desert and told me: ‘This is the race for you’. I didn’t hesitate for a second. It was a photo like from the Indiana Jones movie and I as a teenager whenever I saw it, I dreamed that my life would be a great adventure. I did not want to be in the armchair watching the movie, but living it, ”he says.

The race was 243 kilometers in six stages and seven days, without assistance. “I found it impressive,” said the illustrator. “I trained for two years and when I got to the desert, I wanted to die. In the race they placed you by language and I was the only Spanish-speaking woman in the group. The desert overwhelmed me, I had a panic attack ”.

243 kilometers in the Sahara. She was the first Argentine woman to participate.

243 kilometers in the Sahara. She was the first Argentine woman to participate.

“I was scared, but I had no choice but to run the same way. In the first stage, I caught up with a blind runner who was with his guide. When I saw that, I was impressed: ‘If he’s here doing the best he can, I can’t do less.’ And from there I didn’t think any more if I was going to finish the race or not, it was to give my best. In the next stage I advanced 200 places just because of a change in attitude ”. Finally, was in 14th place, among 69 competitors and 243 out of 670 runners.

“More than a race, it was a life experience. He had never been to Africa, least of all to the Sahara desert. One day it was 53 degrees, it was incredible. I wanted to experience the authentic heat of the desert and race in those conditions ”.

This marathon opened the doors for him to continue competing. When that race was over, he got ready to run 160 kilometers in the Himalayas, between India and Nepal, winning the marathon. “He trained very hard. He had no social life. There were weeks that I trained almost every day of the week and other times I had a day off. To go out at night, forget it. My focus was illustration and marathons ”.

“Each race left me a lesson. When I went to the Sahara, I realized that sometimes we set ourselves a low limit. In the Himalayan one, two things remained: one, the pollution that existed in India at that time, and the other was responsibility. I realized that what I did and said had an impact. They made me some notes in Argentina and when they were published, people approached me and said: ‘I read your note and now I was encouraged to do such a thing’.

Enjoying the mountain with her husband. "I do not want to compete again because I am very competitive and I will push my limits".

Enjoying the mountain with her husband. “I don’t want to compete again because I am very competitive and I am going to push my limits.”

Currently focused on her new project “The Magic Amulet”, his first book with his own characters, put the marathons aside and refocused on the illustration. “I am recovering from injuries, I pushed my limit. I’m not racing, but I’m trying to get back to recreational running with my husband. The only marathon I ran with him was in Antarctica. I dreamed for 25 years to go there and it finally came true. We did 42 kilometers and it was fantastic. I was not so trained, we were last, but it was the fact of being there ”.

Now they are dedicated to trekking together enjoying nature. They were in New Zealand, Bariloche, in northern Italy, on the Camino de Santiago traveling 400 kilometers. “In December we have planned to return to Bariloche, a friendly guide is going to take us to visit beautiful places,” said Dolores.

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The Argentine cartoonist who put a face to Harry Potter and runs marathons in the Sahara desert

The Inside News Hyderabad