Distance: 21.1km (with a 5 and 10 km option)
Date: Thursday June 21, 2018 @ 9pm
This event takes place on approximately the first day of summer each year, late in the evening. However not to worry, the sun didn’t set until after midnight. And with a 2:55am sunrise, there was never any real darkness.
Having run the August half marathon in Reykjavik twice, I wanted to give this one a try.
This is a much smaller, and more of a “no-frills” event. It was only about $40 to enter, but race shirts and medals could be purchased separately. The registration also came with a 5% discount to WOW air, which made the race practically free.
The race itself was 100% top notch. It had timing chips, photographers (with video), evenly spaced aid stations, and volunteers at the road intersections.
I flew out of Montreal Tuesday evening, and was in town by around 7am.
As I had time to kill before a sightseeing tour, I did a little walk around town.
Then it was back to the bus terminal to head out on a South Coast sightseeing tour.
The 9pm start time was a challenge that I hadn’t encountered before. I was thinking about it beforehand, but had no specific plan. It basically just involved getting the race kit, eating appropriately during the day, and figuring when to get to the race.
Here’s how it all played out.
9am: Mike’s breakfast of champions: coffee, chocolate croissants, pickled herring, and a cucumber salad.
1pm: Lunch at Kaffibrennslan
It’s a little cafe on Laugavegur. I’m not sure how many times I’ve been here, but it’s nice to walk into a place and see that your phone automatically connects to the wifi. I had a smoke salmon and egg sandwich, along with a Coke. It came with a bag of plain Lay’s chips, which I saved for post race.
1:30pm – 3pm: Meandering about Reykjavik
Bought a few souvenirs (a hat and a hoodie from 66 North), a beer for post race, and some snacks.
4pm – 5pm: Race Kit pickup
I could’ve got the bib by 8pm, but I didn’t want to hang about the start area for too long. It was a 30 minute walk to the Laugardalsholl sports hall. It’s a place I know well as that’s where the kit pick up was for the Laugavegur ultra.
6pm – 6:30pm: Breakfast for dinner
I had never done a 9pm race before, but it occurred to me that I was a pro at morning races. So I just followed my usual routine: Coffee and a Clif bar.
8pm – 8:30pm: Race Prep
It was a cool windy day (about 9 Celsius). I wore a long sleeved shirt, along with shorts and compression socks. I wasn’t sure if the gear check process would be quick, so I just timed it to arrive about 10 minutes before the start. I was really cold, so I ran/walked to the start and got there in plenty of time.
8:55pm – 9pm: The Race Corral
The 10k and Half Marathon started at the same time, so approximately 1300 runners crowded together.
9pm: And we’re off!
I was at the back of the pack, but the pace seemed ok. I didn’t care anyway as this was just meant to be a fun run. The only goal I had thought about was to get a sub 2 hour time. I’d run two previous halfs in Reykjavik, and never hit that time.
But then again, running in packs can have a strange effect. The start was quite congested, and I found myself having to speed up a little to get the pace I wanted. After maybe 5 or 10 minutes I saw a woman with a Canadian run shirt, and I felt she had a good pace. So I basically just tried to keep up with her. Over the course of the first 4km or so, I tried to keep her in my sights but I lost her after stopping for water.
Water, nutrition, and Feeling It.
I can’t stomach Powerade for some reason, so I had water at each aid station. I also carried a GU gel in case I needed it.
Wide, Carless Paths
Practically the whole course was on wide recreational paths. There was very few parts on roads, and volunteers acted as traffic control in those cases.
I was doing quite well, getting into a good groove, when the back of someone’s t-shirt that read “Feel It, Fight It, Finish It”. That became my three goals, right there on the spot.
Up, Up, Up!
It also coincided with the start of the hills. The wind didn’t help either, but I just felt that pushing harder was the right thing to do. It’s what I’d been doing all spring on the trails.
At some point I passed the Canadian. It was funny because she said I became her pacer for the last half. We’d end up finishing within a minute of each other.
Down, Down, Down!
After about 12km, it was all downhill. As a two time finisher of the Runamuck 50, if there’s one thing I can do well, it’s going full speed down hill, and not having to worry about getting sore.
And Across the Line, with a Personal Best 1:50:19 !!!
Or as they say, “I love it when a plan comes together”.
Back to the Hotel
I chatted with some of the finishers, and then walked back to the hotel. I was kind of hungry and wired, and ate all the snacks that I had left 🙂
I’d highly recommend this race if you ever want a low key, but big city style race.