For many years a visit to Iceland has been in the back of my mind. I like the idea of a cold island near the Arctic Circle with glaciers also having volcanoes and hot water geysers. I have been so curious to go and see it all for myself. Also what an excuse to run a marathon in Reykjavik, the world’s most northern capital. With some of my running trips I have left the family behind but this was a special island and they simply had to come along.
We spent our first day at probably Iceland’s most famous attraction, the Blue Lagoon, a hot water spring in the south west of the island where you can bath in a warm pool of turquoise water known to have minerals which do great things to your skin. The water gets its colour from the silica it collects as it is forced to the surface through the rocks. It is strange being outside in cool air whilst bathing in warm steaming natural water.
We spent our second day on the golden circle coach tour. We got to see the 20 kilometre pipeline which feeds thousands of gallons of steaming hot water from the island’s core to provide hot water and heating to the city of Reykjavik. There is a geothermal power station that also uses the hot water to generate some of the island’s electricity. Next we were taken to see the fault where the American and European tectonic plates meet on the shores of lake Pinvallavatn. I was surprised to see how it was two flat areas of land on different levels with an obvious cliff and ravine separating them. Almost something you would expect from a science fiction movie.
Next stop on the tour was the impressive Gullfoss falls which I understand to be the largest water fall in Europe dropping some 30 meters taking melting glacier water towards the sea.
We did a a couple of other stops at points of interest but the last one I want to mention was the geysers, fascinating small pools of bubbling water which were near boiling point. With the biggest one shooting up a jet of boiling water and steam about 30 feet into the air regularly at about 5 minute intervals.
With some sightseeing done, the next thing on the agenda was Reykjavik marathon. This wasn’t one of the biggest mass participant marathons with about 1300 runners but it is a running festival and once you added the half marathon, 10k and junior races, over 10,000 people ran. Most of the city centre roads were closed for the event and there was a fantastic atmosphere. The event was followed by a cultural evening bringing even more people into the centre for music and many other activities, including turning a steep road into a giant water side and several open air discos. The whole day finished with a firework display which we sadly missed as we had gone back to the hotel tired but enjoyed listening to the bangs.
This year Reykjavik marathon was bathed in glorious sunshine, luckily for us. While running it was lovely to see the Collins family out on the course at the 11k point and also at the finish. I was planning on taking it easy but Mrs C disagreed. I bumped into Luke and Jeff from Jersey who pushed me during the first half towards a 3:10 pace, I felt good, the weather conditions were perfect and I had shiny new trainers. I had no option but to put a hard shift in. Got to half way in 1:34:30 it was killing me so I slowed a bit to get my breath back. Last 6 miles I pushed hard again finishing in 3:14:06. Great marathon and superbly well organised, I would really recommend it. Well done to both Luke and Jeff, who I met up with again at the finish and who both got PB’s. I’ll have to visit Jersey to sample their marathon one day. Sorry to the man from Buxton I over took in the last 50 yards. Here’s a picture of me doing me squat stretch at the finish just for Adam Smith.