I raced alone and hard for 5hours burying demons; constantly imagining the 2nd woman was closing in on me; asking myself am I working as hard as I can; and running, running, running. It was a beautiful running trail. Not much vertical gain but very short sharp ascents and descents interspersed with ice, volcanic ash/ sand and mud…oh and river crossings. The sun was somewhere up there making it a warm day and then in the second half the wind blew but luckily no rain or severe cold whilst I ran.
I sit here now in our Airbnb garage/ cosy studio reflecting on such a great day.
The lack of darkness makes it hard to sleep and of course my excitement.
The day started at 0330 for me to catch the transport at 0430. After 4hrs we arrived at the start, Landmannalaugar, to go for 0900. The race connects two nature reserves and takes you through the Southern Icelandic highlands.
I ran past smelly sulphur geysers which produced clouds of steam making it a surreal lanscape. The terrain reminded me of a typical volcanic island combined with Marathon des Sables sand, sticky Hampshire mud, Dartmoor soft ground and then a bit of ice and some rivers thrown in.
The trail was full of hikers and their cheers were well apreciated too.
The end was in Þórsmörk and it was only when I turned the corner and I heard the cheering to sprint that I knew I was close to Angela Mudge’s record #4seconds. I cried when I finished and it’s been a long time since I’ve done that after a race #tearsofoverwhelment.
Iceland has something that draws you in. Perhaps not the forever daylight #insomnia or the summer weather where shorts are not worn #bitchilly. The fresh air and soft water makes your skin feel good. The people are really hard working, efficient, polite and friendly. The food and coffee are second to none. The traditional Icelandic meal of fish on black bread is delicious. I avoided all the options put on the menu for the tourists #whaleisnotsustainable.
A ‘dirty’ or ‘clean’ breakfast at the laundromat cafe is highly recommended….especially after such an epic run. The visit was a flying one and with so much seen, tasted, smelt and experienced it was an amazing one. Thank you Iceland!
Thank you to all my sponsors. Scott running (Kinabalu Supertrac RC), 32Gi (5gels & a protein recovery drink for this race), Bounce Balls (breakfast!), Get in the Mood Coffee (race prep boost) and Rocktape (ankle support & looked after my hip niggle).