RunIceland 2018 – Five stages of adventuretrail paradise

Bloggers and outdoor lovers Magdalena and Anja from You are and Adventure story, tell us more about their five-days RunIceland experience, a multiple stage race supported by La sportiva that embrace the most incredible and famous places of Iceland.

RunIceland 2018 – Five stages of adventuretrail paradise

Iceland: the land of fire and ice, a long-term dream destination and one of the places outdoor lovers must visit once in a lifetime. When traveling ,we usually try to combine sightseeing famous places and incredible landscapes with a trailrunning event or mountain climb, always searching for a little „uncommon“ ways to visit a country or place. ????

When we first heard about RunIceland was on the La Sportiva Media Days 2018 where, next to testing the newest 2018 trailrunning collection which we would later wear during RunIceland, we met one of the organizers. After a long chat and some brainstorming later we made the deal, and we  were invited to #runICELAND only a few weeks later – and even better: La Sportiva would support us with their newest gear and shoes. Equipped with the new Akasha trailrunning shoes, and a lot more equipment we were ready to run!
RunIceland is a five-day stage race which takes place in five totally different, yearly changing, landscapes in Southern Iceland and is not only a multi-day running event but also takes you to the many great sights along the Golden Circle and the southern part of the icelandic ringroad along the South Coast of Iceland. From Reykjavik, tha capital city, the Golden Circle visits the most famous places in Iceland including magnificent Gulfoss waterfall and the famous Geysir.

Trailrunning in Iceland is not easy. Even there aren’t any highly technical trails as in the Alps or in any other rocky high alpine locations, strong winds and extremely fast changing weather is a big challenge! Sturdy and stable shoes as the Akasha and a wind- and waterproof jacket are mandatory, as well as a whistle to communicate even when the wind is super-strong.
From 13 to 42 kilometres a day, the race runs mainly on gravel and dirt roads and trails – in 2018 Stage 1 was a mere easy 21k along Kaldidalur highland road where the weather was still quite „nice“ to us. This first stage was good to acclimatize and get familiar with the Icelandic rough character and sheer endless highlands. As we’re not so much into flat running, we were really looking forward to the second, the mountain stage – and we weren’t disappointed!

Covering 21k and ~1000m gain in the breath-taking Skaftafell Nationalpark we ran between the biggest glaciers of the island. The sun was shining, and we even got to run in technical short sleeves shirts while enjoying the sheer beauty of this unique place. Visiting Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon afterwards was just the perfect end for a perfect day. A completely different face showed us Stage 3: Wind, rain and ice-cold river crossings were all part of the shortest 13k day near Vik y Myrdal, leaving us somehow frightened and doubtfull for next day’s major 42k stage. Running on a black sand beach close to the ocean and visiting the area afterwards (from our opinion the most beautiful fall we saw) did help on that a little.

Marathon day was tough! Back to the highlands, the wind hit us hard that day and the first 15k were super slow, just fighting against the dust blown in our faces. Thankfully the Hail jacket provided us by La Sportiva did a great job keeping wind, dust, sand and windchill away. The Akasha gave us maximum support and cushion on this never-ending high road and also successfully fought against the stones and scratch coming from various river crossings. Although we didn’t break them in before leaving, we had no problems with blisters or chafing at all! Arriving at the finishline and realizing that there were some hot springs which waiting for us was maybe the best part oft he trip – and as there was “only” an half marathon waiting for us the next day, we were in the best mood.

The fifth and final stage once more took place in the rough Icelandic highlands, more precisely in Katla Geopark and was a blast! Running through fog, wind and rain we got rewarded by breath-taking views of what once was a glacier tongue and now is an endless riverbed. Time flew and we were really into it – not necessarily to mention that even after five days our feet and „endangered skin areas“ were completely fine.  We thought about crossing the finish line many times, but when we finally arrived it couldn’t have been any better: 120km found their end at a hidden waterfall in a valley known from Lord of the Rings and with a hard-earned and beautiful medal!

Now, when a few weeks have passed, we’re looking back to Iceland with smiling faces – to experience a running event in such a diverse and magnificent landscape was a really unique experience and we wouldn’t think one second whether to go back or not!

Thanks RunIceland and La Sportiva for this great experience. Now let’s looking forward to new adventures together!

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Follow Anja and Magdalena in their adventures on all the You Are and Adventure Story channels!