Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30th Annual Reykjavik Marathon Review

"Why did you choose to go to Iceland?"

That's the other question we've been asked a bazillion times when I tell people we went to Iceland on vacation.

This is how it all started: When Lee was in 6th grade, he had to do a country report. No, he didn't do his country report on Iceland. He was assigned to cover Iran, but stood by the kid who was assigned Iceland.

The kid told him that the Vikings founded Iceland, and Lee remembered that his grandpa always talked about how they're descendants of the Vikings, Eric the Red and his son, Leif Ericson. He was hooked-- Iceland was his number one travel destination.

Eric the Red

Iceland showed up on my radar when we entered the Claussen Pickles Conquer the Cold contest. We didn't win, but Iceland jumped up on my list, right behind my number one travel destination--Tanzania and Mount Kilimanjaro.

One of our Claussen pickle contest entries

So when Lee and I finally became debt free at the end of 2012 and were now able to save for other things like a trip, I told Lee we should travel somewhere to run a half-marathon. He looked and guess what he found?

The 30th Annual Reykjavik Marathon in August 2013. They also had a half-marathon, 10K, 3K, and Lazy Town Run.

Reykjavik Marathon sponsored by the Iceland Bank

It was meant to be!

We were able to convince our friend, Dr. Amy, early to run the race with us. Our other friend, Flo, didn't run the race because of how late she joined the trip, but she cheered us on instead.

We trained (sort of), packed up our running shoes, and headed to Iceland.

Here are some things, both awesome things and things they could improve, we observed at the Reykjavik Marathon:

Our general observations:

1. The pre-race expo was small, but well-run. There weren't a ton of booths, so don't expect to spend hours there.

2. It was raining/misting and pretty chilly at the start, but being cold at the beginning of a race is typical.

3. We met this cool kid, Tim, from California and he ran with me and Lee the entire time. We also met a guy from Belgium, Tom, who ran with us at the end of the race.

Lee, Dr. Amy, me, and Tim--at the end!

4. At one of the last entertainment/water stops, they were playing some great electronic dance music. Lee, Tim and I stopped running and started dancing. Moment to remember!

5. Everything is marked in kilometers. I know, I know--we're dumb Americans that need to stop using our measurement system, but it was kind of different for me not to see the course marked in miles.

Awesome stuff:

1. The pre-race expo and registration pickup had a great feeling about it. You could tell that everyone, locals and tourists alike, were excited to be there.

I actually met this guy on the race course!

2. The race started a little after 8:00 am, which was AWESOME! We had plenty of time to get a good night's rest, wake up, eat, get dressed, drive and park, and walk to the start, with time to spare!

3. The energy and excitement and fun at the starting line was amazing!

4. The race course for the half-marathon was beautiful and delightful. From the quaint roads lined with residents banging on pots and pans and cheering us on to the peaceful walking path that went right past the ocean--it was gorgeous!

5. Pieces of Milky Way candy bars they gave out at Kilometer 17. Oh heavenly Milky Way!

6. The water and Powerade crews were amazing and happy, plus the entertainment they had along the way was so fun.

I totally got my picture taken with an Icelandic eagle!

7. The crowds greeting the racers as we finished were large and encouraging. It was a real party! You can't help but smile!

8. You cannot beat the feeling that you just completed a race in another country!

The beginning and the end of the Reykjavik Marathon

Ways the race could be improved:

1. They gave out Milky Way at Kilometer 17 only.

2. They didn't completely close all the roads to cars. I thought it was because we were slow, but Dr. Amy was faster than we were and commented on the cars on the road.

3. We got only Powerade and a couple packs of chocolate covered raisins as our post-race food--that was it. No bananas, bagels, oranges, bread, ice cream, etc like we've come to expect at all the races we've done. Granted this is a country that has to ship in most of their produce, it's understandably expensive, but I really could have used a banana. We did notice that the elite marathoners got bananas. I didn't know bananas were an elite food...

After the Reykjavik Half-Marathon

Anyway, we had a fabulous time and the City of Reykjavik put on a great, fun race. We'd totally run it again AND we'd bring our own bananas to eat at the end!


  1. Mt Kilimanjaro you say?? That's been my life goal since 6th grade....let's start planning!

    1. What?!? Really? Let's do! That would be epic!


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