Laugavegur Ultra Marathon

Is a 55km footrace along the most popular hiking trail in Iceland, a route that normally takes 4 days to complete.  Now 55km doesn’t actually sound that far, as really it is just a bit more than a marathon.  Looking on the course records the warning bells started to sound as the fastest 10 finishers in 2006 took between 5:26 and 6:06 hours to complete the course.  I didn’t know quite what to expect, although I imagined it had to be tough for such slow times.  Little did I know but I was in for quite a challenge.

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Adventure Races and Wilderness Running | fundraising for charity with every mile run

Adventure racing

fundraise for charity with every mile run!

The series of extreme running events is designed to offer a different experience for those wishing to take the challenge of a marathon to the next level. All marathons will be run in difficult environments to push participants just that little bit further. As well as signing up for the marathons on, people can gain hints on fund-raising and training and share their experiences with other users of the site.

Steve Clark, sales manager at Across the Divide and an experienced marathon runner, explains how Adventure Racing came about. He says: “After completing the London and Edinburgh Marathons, I needed a new challenge. In April 2005, I completed the ‘Marathon des Sables’ in Morocco and have been well and truly bitten by the ultra distance race bug. This has inspired me to develop the extreme series for Across the Divide which throws all sorts of terrains and conditions at the participants.”

The opportunities offered on Adventure Racing include the ‘Costa Rica 24 Hour Adventure Race’, taking place in the shadows of the active Arenal volcano.Teams will navigate, trek, mountain bike, sea kayak, and traverse the rainforest canopy along a course of between 75 and 150 km in 24 hours for a potentially explosive marathon experience.

The ‘Namibia 24 Hour Desert Ultra Race’, on 4-11 April, 2008, takes place over 120km and 24 hours through the most hostile desert coastline on the planet – the Namibian Skeleton Coast. Traversing gravel plains framed by distant ridges and mountains, and running past dramatic upheavals of granite inselbergs, participants must remain self sufficient over the 24 hour period, carrying their own food and equipment – although water will be provided every 20km.

A shorter marathon route can also be run for those who prefer an easier challenge!The ‘Laugavegur Ultra Marathon 2008 Iceland’, on 9-13 July, 2008, is an unrivalled endurance test in spectacular surroundings. The course route runs from the natural springs at Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk, a valley nestled between two glaciers about 55 km away. The course is normally hiked in four days, and is one of the most beautiful in Iceland. The race is multi-terrain,covering sand, gravel, grass, snow, ice, rivers and streams.

Heading to warmer climes, the ‘Taj Mahal Marathon’, on 18-23 September, 2008, starts in the sleepy village of Niyamat Pur and the route follows a good tarmac road through beautiful rural countryside and villages, before joining the main highway to Agra. The highway runs through fertile fields dotted with eucalyptus trees and mango groves, and past small bazaars and hamlets lining the side of the road.

Across the Divide is confirming further dates for 2008, including a 65 mile foot race from Flagstaff along trails to the edge of the Grand Canyon. This event is still in the planning stages and more details will be released soon.

Steve Clark adds: “Designed to attract the attention of experienced marathon runners, charity fundraisers and charitable organisations, our adventure series can help gain the interest of sponsors by being out of the ordinary. Some of the events are exclusive to Across the Divide, such as the Taj Mahal and Namibia challenges. They are certainly more challenging than participating in marathons run in UK cities on tarmac roads.” 

Find out more about Adventure Races and Wilderness Running