A few years ago, I made my first (and only, so far) trip to Iceland to run the Reykjavik Marathon. Out of all of my 40+ official marathons/ultras, it still stands as one of the most beautiful courses I have run. In my short time in Iceland, I found the country to be just exquisite and full of beautiful wonder at every turn. If you are looking for a great time and reason to visit Iceland, these races could help give you the extra push.
Run Any Of The Fantastic Races In Beautiful Iceland This Summer!
Travel to Iceland pops up quite frequently thanks to really great, promotional fares by WOW Air (who’s tagline continues to crack me up – Iceland’s most punctual airline) from the East Coast and now the West Coast. Not only that, but Iceland Air’s own reasonable cheap rates and generous stopover policy for Iceland also makes Iceland an easy and somewhat cheap place to get to.
My Review: Reykjavik Marathon
If you have ever thought about visiting Iceland, summer is a great time for a visit given the wonderful weather and the long, long days of sunlight that you can use to enjoy more of the country. The bad part is things are not cheap normally in Iceland and the summer tourist season can make it much more expensive – but that is why we collect miles and points!
The Races In Reykjavik
Here are the races that Reykjavik Marathon offers and their current prices (at today’s currency rates):
- 3Km Fun Run (1.86 miles) – $13.46 for adults & $10 for children and teenagers
- 10Km (6.2 miles) – $33.65 for adults & $25.80 for ages 13-17
- Half marathon (13.1 miles) – $40.30
- Marathon (26.2 miles) – $69.50
- Relay (2-4 runners) – $33.65 per person / $135 per team
Those amounts will go up March 16th so you have until then to get this lower price. The actual fee is in Euros but the above are the conversions to USD.
Here are the details about the races:
- Race Date: August 20, 2016
- Race Time: 8:40AM for the marathon, half, and the relay | 9:35AM for the 10K | 12:15PM for the 3K
The weather is an average of 58 degrees at that time of year so should be beautiful weather for running! When I ran it in 2013, it was cloudy and even rained during the day but that did not retract from the beauty of the city and the course.
The program does a great job of laying out the different landmarks you will see along the route so it can be just like touring this great city in just a few hours. Unfortunately, the pasta dinner is no longer included in the race fee, but that is actually no real loss since it was far from a memorable meal and it gives you an opportunity to sample some of the other fine fare available in the city.
Reasons To Run It!
Registration for this fantastic race opened up last month for this year’s race. When I registered for 2013, it was not until July, so no worry of a sellout. But, it would be great to get your registration in and start planning your trip there. Here are some of my favorite things about the Reykjavik Marathon:
- Fantastic course with beautiful sights
- Slightly rolling elevation profile (does not climb higher than 25 feet above sea level and spends much of the time at sea level)
- Beautiful weather
- Flight time from New York is the same as to Los Angeles from JFK – 5 1/2 hours
- Cheap fares (WOW Air has great fares)
- Great stop enroute to Europe (Icelandair allows you a free stopover in Reykjavik enroute to Europe)
- A “unique” destination – it is not a place that many of your friends have been to!
- Great start time – no worry about getting up too early! Some people may not like a 8:40AM start time but that is really great as it lets you get some rest or even enjoy one of the beautiful mornings without being in a rush.
Miles and Points
Iceland is a fantastic place to use miles and points for. Hotels can be expensive, so it is a prime time/place to get maximum value from your miles and points. If you are already in Europe, it is only 10,000 AA miles (one way) to get to Iceland from anywhere in Europe (for now, that will go up to 12,500 on March 22)!
As for hotels, Hilton and Club Carlson both offer places to use your points. Club Carlson has 2 properties in Reykjavik (the Park Inn I stayed at is no longer available). Hilton has a new Canopy hotel that should be open by then as well and it should be a nice place to stay! Either way, Club Carlson will give you 2 hotels in the city and Hilton will also give you 2 hotel options in the city to make your hotel stay, anyway, be free.
Be sure to check things like WOW Air for your flights from the airports in the US they currently fly from. Even though the fares will be higher than the $99 sales because of the prime season, you can still find some nice deals. Or you can use Iceland Air and plan a long stopover (up to 7 days) in Iceland before continuing to the mainland of Europe – at no extra charge! Finally, you can use Delta miles to fly from JFK to Reykjavik in less time than it takes to fly to LA from JFK!
I was on the fence about doing it again since I like to sample other marathons but I have decided that I will run this race again. Not only do I want to experience it again and try to capture it more for readers at home, I also want to get out and do some photography in what is really a landscape photographer’s dreamscape.
I will have to leave right after the race but if you plan on coming, let me know and we can do the pasta dinner together the night before! Be sure to let me know and we may be able to even work out race morning transportation. It would be a blast and I promise it would be a marathon you would never forget! How many of your friends can say they ran a marathon in Iceland?!