It was now for real! We would get wet and cold, run an exhilarating half marathon in sideways rain, buy some expensive beer and make it to our base for the remainder of RunIceland.
After some midnight panic because I couldn’t get to sleep (despite a new room), I did actually get more sleep than I thought at the time. Breakfast was the same as the day before. More mushy eggs, yay!
On bus. Let’s go!
We packed up, got all our stuff loaded on the bus and rolled on out.
Change to smaller buses
We were set to meet up with smaller buses that would be more suitable for the track that led to the start. This was at a rest stop/camp ground. The weather was overcast and rather moist. Little chilly too; I wouldn’t have wanted to be camping there like the miserable/plucky souls staying there.
To starting line
Off we trundled to the start line.
It was still cold and wet when we got there (the middle of nowhere). Despite a lecture from Giorgio about respecting nature, many of us needed a pee by this point. Much squatting was done.
Okay, now it was time to get real. The start line was off the main road at a seemingly random spot, so off we went to assemble.
Off we go. field spreads out
Boom! RunIceland was GO! Finally. We picked our way through the volcanic sand and got back on the road. Clearly there were some real players in the field as we soon were spreading out. The route left the “main” road (track) after a short while and we wound our way up a climb. It was then I decided I needed to despoil nature so step off the road of a brief time behind a handy rock.
Then it was back to the matter at hand. I had another 20km to run. As I we headed along the track, the field spread out some more. Soon I was relatively alone. I saw a couple of runners ahead and behind, but other than that it was me and nature. The wind blew and rain did indeed come at me sideways. But it was amazing and I felt so alive.
Giorgio and the doc were in the sweep vehicle and they drove past a few times to make sure we were still having fun and not wishing to give up so soon. It was good to know they were there, but we weren’t in any real danger. The trail was well used and there were no precipitous drops or climbs.
Eventually I cam to the final bend and just over a small climb were the waiting buses. Time for some dry clothes and hot (warm) sweet tea.
Those of use who had finished and were hanging outside were in high spirits. We had survived and were now ready for whatever Iceland could throw at us.
Job done. Beer, anyone?
Back on the buses, we rolled back to the big bus. After another break at the rest stop/campsite we started to head toward our accommodation. Importantly we needed some supplies and a better selection of food, so Giorgio led us to the service station at Hvolsvollur. There we were delighted to find a Vinbudin, one of the state-run-monopoly alcohol shops.
A few off us did the right thing and bought a selection of over-priced alcoholic beverages. I found a new Icelandic IPA to try Úlfur Nr. 3 by Borg Brugghús.
The final stop of the day while en route to the hotel was at the awesome Seljalandsfoss. Yet more memories from my 2004 trip came back as this was my first ever Icelandic waterfall. We were dropped by a lesser fall nearby and after some of our more plucky group tried to get views of that we walked the short distance to the main drop.
We went behind for the classic behind-the-waterfall experience which was wet and cold but exhilarating.
After a while we boarded the bus one last time and took the short drive to Drangshlid, our new residence. We debused, got our room allocation and prepared for dinner. The sparse but well stocked bar supplied some well-earned Einstock, we sat down, ate and talked. Perfect end to the day.