Iceland Ultra Race Report 2009

The team have recently returned back from the Iceland Ultra Race, race director Steve Clark has written the race report about the 09 event.

Make sure if you want to book your place on the 2010 race – you need to be quick as we closed entries for 2009 – 6 months before the race!

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Just back from the Iceland Ultra Marathon 09

The team have just returned from the Iceland Ultra Marathon.  Christopher Hough who also ran the race last year, not only bettered his time by an hour but was the first Bri to cross the line.   Well done Chris.   Race report to follow.

Book Now for 2010.

Coming up the 2009 Iceland Ultra Marathon

Across the Divide is heading out to Iceland on Thursday for the Iceland Ultra Marathon

Very tough run but a beautiful challenge and great scenery. Very good organisation; Really enjoyed it and will be back next year.” Richard, 2008 competitor.

The “Laugavegur” course is one of the most beautiful in Iceland, stretching from Landmannalaugar in the highlands to Thorsmork, a natural reservation area. The area is famous for the yellow, orange and purple hues of the surrounding mountains.

Check out the 2008 race report.  Places for 2009 sold out in record time so book your place now for 2010.

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon Iceland 2008 – Race Report

Race Report Iceland Ultra – 2008 

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon - Iceland 2008

Laugavegur Ultra Marathon - Iceland 2008

We arrived in Iceland with 7 runners from a variety of different backgrounds and running experience. Some were experienced ultra runners, but for some the task ahead was very daunting with two runners never having run further than 16 miles.

We gave a detailed race brief, including hydration, nutrition advice and medical briefing, which left everyone fully aware of the challenge ahead and exactly what they had let themselves up for! Although short for an ultra (53km) the course is punishing and much harder than the distance suggests. The first 17km involves 600m of climbing along difficult mountain trails, over ice, mud and sand, although the amazing scenery certainly distracts from the burn in the legs. What goes up must come down, and there follows a steep and difficult descent on uneven ground for 2km before the first major river crossing through glacial fed waters. The later stages of the course are slightly easier underfoot and undulating, but still involve some steep descents with one assisted by ropes, before the final ice cold river crossing and the 4km run through the woods to the finish.

The weather this year was terrible, with everyone shivering at the starting line before the off. 250 runners started – more than doubling last year’s numbers – yet the race still retained its friendly local feel, with people chatting and swapping race stories. Up in the mountains the clouds closed in taking visibility to just 30m at times. Ice cold rain lashed in from the left but it only seemed to spur people on in the face of adversity. Snow cover was heavy making running difficult and slippy at times. Over the latter stages the rain continued to pour and runners didn’t hang around at the checkpoints, going through as quick as possible to avoid the cold and keep their body temperature up. There is a cut-off time of 6hours at the 37km point and many runners had to push hard to get there on time. Once through they still had a 16km slog to the finish, and this is often the hardest stretch mentally, with runners pushing themselves onwards whilst their bodies are telling them to stop with every footfall.

Our small group did incredibly well, and all were shocked at how hard this race is, much harder than they ever imagined. Sam was the first of the group to arrive home around the 6hour 20 mark having never run a marathon before – in fact he said that he hates running! Dan, a veteran of the Gobi desert stage race was next in at 6hours 50, followed by Terry and Christopher in 7hours 30. Richard finished just under 8hours having and raised an incredible $95000 for charity to take part in the race, followed by Will and Maria past the 8hour mark. It was a huge achievement and they all should be very proud of their efforts as this race is definitely not for the faint hearted.

We are all now taking it all in, whilst we wait for our legs to stop aching and the day that walking downstairs or steep inclines becomes pain free.

Roll on 2009!

Steve Clark
Race Director, Adventure Racing

Running the | LAUGAVEGUR ULTRA MARATHON JULY 2007

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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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