Deep breaths, it’s time to go! In a couple of days we fly out to Iceland to set out on a run across the country from east to west. Is it worrying I still have to say ‘never eat shredded wheat’ in my head to ensure I get our direction of travel right?! If you don’t know what that means your school failed you. I digress; the fun bit is that you can spend 2.5 weeks glued to a computer screen following our progress on my tracking map!
How does the tracking map work?
I will be carrying a Spot Gen 3 tracker, rented from the nice folks at Spot Tracker Rental. This tracker will ping my position to satellites every five minutes and that location will show up in my tracking map. I have mapped out our entire route in Mapometer (more on that later) and sent the GPX file to the rental people. They uploaded it on my map, so you can also see if we are actually following our intended route.
My tracker is not just for your viewing pleasure. It allows me to let friends and family know I’m ok via pre-programmed text or alert the emergency services if I’m a little less ok. If things are going well I can press a button which will send the following email to my parents and two friends: ‘Hey, just checking in. I might be great, okay, or tired and hungry! There is no emergency and no action is needed.’ If things are a little shady another button will send: ‘Something is wrong but there is no threat to life/limb. Will try to self-rescue if possible. Send help.’ Apologies in advance for the stress I would cause if I have to send that message!
The SOS button sends a message straight to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC). They then coordinate a rescue. All the messages also send my location. Pretty cool really.
Want to know something fun about our route?!
It’s a little longer than we thought. Yes, happy days, we get to run even further than we had braced ourselves for.
I love plotting a good route out on Mapometer, which is good as most of my running and cycling friends are less keen. This means if I get to set the route they’re not allowed to complain if it goes wrong! The Iceland route was a bit of a challenge. By endlessly swapping between satellite, OS and map terrain view I was able to get a clear idea of the landscape and features. Where a river didn’t show on the paper map there was often a river. Where a track showed on paper the satellite view showed only snow.
After many painstaking hours I had plotted the route in 16 day sections. I then only had to download the individual GPX files and combine them using the GPX combining website joewin.net. This created our entire route in one handy file. You can see the entire route here. Go on, have a bit of fun zooming and trying to find those paths!
Taking the route with us
I used the fantastic Open Street Map website to download free maps of Iceland to my Garmin, using instructions from the dcrainmaker website. This worked brilliantly for my cycle tour of Cuba. Having uploaded the individual day files for Iceland to the Garmin we now have a route to follow each day.
We’re not relying on this alone of course. Our map and compass are going to be invaluable. Electrical devices should never be relied on alone. I have a solar charger and battery to keep us charged but a lack of sunshine could mean no power.
Follow my progress
We are due to start running on June 2nd or 3rd so don`t expect to see much activity before then. A lot depends on how and if we can get to our intended start point. We have a back up option so you may find we are not on route the first day.
Whilst I am away we are unlikely to have much internet access and my blog is unlikely to be updated. If we can get any pictures out it will likely be through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so don’t forget to follow me on those.
Click here or on the image below to go to my live route tracking page. If this is not working for any reason you can also follow our progress via my share page here (this may show a route in Scotland until I start the tracker).
I look forward to sharing my adventures with you all!