The 32nd Reykjavik Marathon and Half Marathon was held on August 22, 2015. I was among the thousands who lined up at the start line to complete their running journey that day. I was in freaking Iceland running a half marathon! Okay, I had to let that out. This run marked precisely a year since I embarked on a unexpected travel/running journey that took me from Vancouver to Berlin, Paris and finally, Reykjavik. The experiences and people I met along this journey have made a remarkable impact in my life. I am part grateful and part hopeful to continue on this path.
I decided to run the half marathon in Reykjavik because I completed a marathon in 2015 (Paris). Participating in one marathon a year is all I can handle, spending the rest of the year running 10K’s and half marathons.
My Reykjavik half marathon experience was extraordinary. The course, the scenery and the citizenry supporting the runners was completely magical. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire run, forgetting mile counting (or Kilometer counting) in anticipation of what was to come on this course. This was a rare circumstance for me, as I tend to get bored by mile seven and start itching to get the run done.
Okay, enough of me going on about this wonderful run and get into the nitty-gritty details.I traveled to Iceland with Marathon Tours which gave me the convenience of a hotel minutes from the start and finish of the race. I arrived on my birthday, checked into my hotel and joined my tour-mates walking to the expo to pick up our bibs. The expo is about two miles from the center of town and it was good to stretch my legs after a long flight with no sleep. Arriving shortly before the opening time, our group was among the first to enter the expo for our bibs and swag.
Not quite sure what sports the glyph’s are emulating on the side of the building. Any suggestions?
That sign was pointing to the exit. It was a modest running expo without a mad collection of vendors aggressively hawking their stuff. I found it quite charming with an efficient process to acquire bib and t-shirt.
Sponsors in bright-colored running gear!
Love the box of Barilla pasta included in the swag kit. First time for everything. I did try to use this box of pasta to rescue my dying iPhone.
The half marathon course loops through the city and winds around the harbor to end where it started. The organizers use a wave start with the race ending where it began. Timing is monitored by a chip you lace on your running shoe. Don’t forget to return it after you cross the finish line. The course has gentle rolling hills that are easily run over and the views of the harbor and surrounding mountains are spectacular. Water stops are adequate and simple – water and Gatorade. There was no chance of slipping on discarded orange slices, something I encountered during the Paris Marathon. The route was well-marked with plenty of volunteers making sure the runners were heading in the right direction. I am going to make an assumption that the porta-potties were adequate in number. I had no need to use one and did not hear any complaints about the lack of them. Yes, non-runners who read my blog, this is an important detail for runners considering this distance run. Not to be missed is the roadside entertainment by residents who come out with musical instruments to cheer on the runners.
The marathon/half marathon was not too big or too small, It felt just right. Kathryn Switzer, a marathon pioneer, shared a few words of encouragement before officially starting the run. This was the first time I recorded the start of any distance run. This small snippet gives a taste of the atmosphere at the start of the race.
What I wore:
I debuted NorthFace Better Than Naked running t-shirt The comfortable fit with whisper light wicking material was absolutely divine! I adore it! The temperature was in the mid 50 degrees with low humidity and the skies were overcast. In essence, perfect running conditions with the perfect running apparel. Of course my trusty Garmin 910XT watch recorded my run – which was glorious.
What I saw on the course. All images taken with an iPhone 5s and most were taken while running.
Pre-race selfie with fellow Marathon tour-mate, Andrea.
Runners waiting at the start line.
The scenery is spectacular!
Not sure about the filter thing going on here, but I love this concept of this wall art. Mesmerizing.
The pack thins out quickly and if you are looking to achieve a PR/PB on a distance run then this may be the course for you.
That place where Reagan and Gorby had a Meetup.
Obligatory selfie at place were Reagan and Gorby meet up. Also, love the sweaty hair going on in this photo.
More scenic scenery!
Yay! Finished the run and now off to meet friends for food and beer.
The bling was well worth the effort.
In summary, this is a marathon or half marathon well suited for beginners and seasoned runners alike with PR/PB aspirations. I would also make this distance event a goal for newbies or for anyone thinking of participating in a running event outside their own country. The event organization, the number of runners and the course allows me to highly recommend this event to anyone. Afterwards you can celebrate your run with citizens of Reykjavik during Cultural Night. Also, fireworks!
1: Hell no, never, ever, again
2: Unless crucial changes are made, then NO
3: Meh – If you have nothing better to do that day, then go for it.
4: Put this on your list of potential runs for next year.
5: I’ve already signed up for next year.
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