Iceland has always been on my travel bucket list. When I heard there was a Marathon in Reykjavik happening in August, I absolutely had to go for my 12 Marathons in 12 months charity project. And I have to say that Reykjavik Marathon did not disappoint. The people were incredibly friendly, the scenery was fantastic and it was organized perfectly. There is not only the Reykjavik Marathon, but also a Half Marathon, a 10km and several fun runs. So even if you are not into running the full 42.2 km distance, it is a good reason to travel to Iceland. And the best thing: later that day the famous Cultural Night is happening, with concerts and art installations taking place all over town, finishing with giant fireworks.
Iceland is an island in the north Atlantic in between Greenland and the British Islands. It is well connected via an international Airport and several airlines fly there daily. However if you feel adventurous you can also take a ferry there. The journey is several days departing from Ireland. Once you arrive in Keflavik International airport I would advise to rent a car to go to Reykjavik. Taxis are (just like everything else) quite expensive. And you will need the car to get to the Sports Center in Reykjavik to pick up your bib. Plus: you can travel the country, which is highly recommended.
Bib Pick Up and Expo
The bib pick up is located in the Laugardalshöll Sports Hall and it is open Thursday and Friday before the event. You can also pick up your bib on the morning of race day , but it is not recommended. The Marathon Expo has a decent size. You can buy running apparel and shoes, as well as other equipment. But as prices are very high in Iceland, don’t expect big bargains.
Before the start runners gather on the lawn in front of the school in Laekjargata road. The bag drop is located inside the school, and the start is right in front. There are enough portapotties on the side lines. And as there are not a lot of people running (but still 1% of the Icelandic polulation) the start corrals are not too crowded.
Reykjavik Marathon course
The Reykjavik Marathon course goes 1.5 loops around the city. It starts along the city lake and the heads west towards Seltjarnes Peninsula. It the passes the famous Harpa concert hall and heads east along the shore. The Half Marathon then turns around towards the finish line, whereas the Marathon route continues. At the Laugardalshöll Sports Hall the course turns south. You then complete the second loop around the city airport and Seltjarnes Peninsula. The finish line is located back on Laekjargata road.
After the race you recieve a space blanket,a medal, and some food and drinks. The different races have different finish line exits, so when you meet up with your friends and family after the race pick an easy meeting point.
Before running the Marathon we traveled the whole country for a week. The Landscape and scenery in Iceland are breathtaking, and I highly recommend combining the Reykjavik Marathon with a road trip. These were my highlights:
- Snaefells Peninsula with Kirkjufell mountain.
- Whale watching in Akureyri
- All the amazing waterfalls like Godafoss, Dettifoss, Skogafoss, Gulfoss, Seljalandsfoss
- Thingvellir – Icelands old Parliament
- Exploring the hot spings: either in a hot tub in Hoffell, a hike to the hot springs in Hvergardi or in the famous blue lagoon.
- Jökulsarlon glacier lake, Fjallsarlon glacier lake and Diamond Beach
Do you want to run a Marathon yourself? Check out my blog post on the best Marathon gear, pacing strategy and tips for your first Marathon.