Dear Run Away Friends and ‘Family’,
On October 27th I will be leaving my life in Green Bay with Run Away Shoes and heading to another “Frozen Tundra.” That’s right, I will be moving to Iceland.
What’s in Iceland? While it is most commonly associated with the phrase; “Iceland is Green, and Greenland is ice,” I promise you, there is much more. One primary example is the most beautiful trail race I have ever been lucky to participate in.
In July of 2012, I ran the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon in Iceland. The race is a 55km point to point trail race over mountains, through snow fields, past steaming, bubbling hot springs, and sights that will remind you why we all love running as much as we do.
The race starts in Landmannalaugar, a small camping area that has a couple of buildings but not really much else. From the start, you basically begin steadily climbing for the first 15km or so gaining about 500 meters in elevation. When you get to the top you look behind you, and have a view of the beautiful rolling mountains you climbed through. When you look forward, you look out upon an amazing valley which stretches out for many miles.
At this point, the rest of the course is “downhill.” In less than 3 kilometers, you head downhill losing more than 500 meters of elevation which you previously climbed. The course is naturally rolling and the terrain somewhat challenging, but the beauty makes up for the challenge. There are two river crossings during the race with the first one coming around the half-way point. The water is cold, but refreshing.
The next half of the race is much tamer, with flatter sections and more rolling hills and less ominous mountains. In this section, you travel across land that seems to be covered in black sand, which is actually from the many volcano eruptions that occur often throughout Iceland.
There are some short, steep climbs and some longer, more drawn-out climbs through this part of the race. The nice thing though, is the fact that you are still heading downhill throughout the majority of this part of the race. Within the last 5km, there is the 2nd and final river crossing of the race. This one tends to be a bit deeper and harder to cross, but at this point you know that if you’ve made it this far, you are home free.
After the river crossing, you climb a little uphill, head back down hill and you can see an open grass field, with people lining the sides of the finishing chute. After 54.5km of running through some of the most beautiful terrain in the world, the last .5km feels like you are flying. After you cross the finish line, you get to enjoy a meal of traditional Icelandic lamb and potatoes.
So in closing, if you are looking for the race of a lifetime (link here), or just want to run in a place out-of-this-world, come on out to Iceland and run with me.
Run Away Shoes – Green Bay