‘Yes!’ I didn’t even hesitate when I was asked if I wanted to join some friends in running across Iceland. Whenever a new challenge is put to me I usually agree before thinking about it. Perhaps this time the mulled wine I had been drinking also helped to egg me on!
This really was a biggie though. It doesn’t take much thinking to realise that running across Iceland would be no mean feat. Having spent a few days around Reykjavik in 2014 I have always wanted to go back and explore. What better way to do that than run across it?!
My trip to Iceland in 2014 was full of both joy and sadness. I was meant to take the trip with my late partner to see the Northern Lights. After he passed away a friend agreed to come with me instead. Something I will always admire her for – it can’t be easy to take someone else’s place like that.
Despite it being emotional we had a fantastic time, filled with laughter and exploration. Just as it should have been. I found the Icelandic people to be filled with a fantastic sense of humour and loved the quirky and fun nature of the country.
The Northern Lights didn’t appear but we did manage to pack lots in to our few days there. I realised a life ambition of riding an Icelandic pony and experiencing the tölt, a gait exclusive to this breed. A whale watching trip resulted in myself and most of the boat being violently sea sick and no whales being spotted. We discovered stunningly delicious food at Glo. There was an, ahem, interesting trip to the Icelandic Phallological Museum and a, blush inducing, outing to the local outdoor swimming baths and hot spa, where one had to wash naked in front of the attendant before being allowed entry to the pool. I shan’t go into too much detail about our trip to Lebowski Bar on our final night; let’s just say we had sore heads on the plane the next morning!
We also managed to fit in an icy run along the sea front. All this left me wanting to see more of this interesting country.
Dreams Become Reality
Over the last couple of years I have often mentioned Iceland to other people. Wondering if I could head back and cycle around the ring road which runs around the entire country. Or perhaps I could spend some time running there with my sister in law.
These were all vague ideas, so when Steph asked if I wanted to join with her and Sophie on their trip my dreams became a reality.
Sophie and I used to work together and I have to admit to being super jealous and full of admiration when she quit in 2016 to run across Scandinavia. Her website, Daring Mighty Things, details her awesome adventure and determination to complete her 2927km run despite many obstacles in her path.
Steph and I still work together and our bosses have given us permission for this trip with a baffled shake of the head! I envisage many an early morning training run before work.
The Planning Begins
On December 30th Sophie, Steph, myself and Brew (he won’t be running with us) met for a beer and planning session. All the best planning is done in a good pub with a map!
So now I know that we will be running around 650 km in just under three weeks this June. Travelling from east to west, we will be crossing glaciers, rivers and lava fields. The going will be tough and we will need to cover around 35-40 km a day. Look at a map of Iceland and you will see there is not that much in the middle of the country.
It seems not many people have done this route before us. Carrying all our own gear, including food and tents, we will certainly be glad of Sophie’s experience of this sort of adventure. The training schedule starts now and will be gruelling but worth it.
Hopes and Fears
Let’s start with the fears! With any trip like this comes fear of failure. Making a big announcement like this creates a reality and pressure which can’t be avoided. As I head further into my thirties my body picks up more dings and weaknesses. Old injuries niggle and my sciatica will not go away. I will be the oldest on this trip by about ten years. My endurance will be an advantage but will this body hold out day after day?!
But the hopes; ah the hopes! This could easily turn into the most epic thing I have ever done. It will be an adventure which will stay with me forever. Hardships and joy will combine to become a truly wonderful experience.
There is only one way to find out what you can really achieve…get out and try!
Never Miss An Adventure!