2020 has been a great opportunity to explore your home country and I’ve had a wonderful summer getting to know Iceland better. Here is the first blog about my adventures so far this year.
When I first read Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the last thing I ever imagined was that one day I would take part in a race over the very glacier he describes. Yet, this is something Icelanders have been doing for years and this year I decided to give it a go.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I signed up thinking it would be ‘kinda fun’. I was keen to check out some of the Snaefelleness peninsula’s scenery and thought I may as well throw in a half marathon whilst there! Unfortunately I was woefully unprepared. The last distance I ran was 13km and that was a struggle, So I quickly realised this was a lot more hardcore than I’d bargained for!
At 2km I was already walking. At 4km I seriously toyed with the idea of quitting because every time I tried to pick up the pace I simply began to dry heave. At 8km it was STILL uphill! How did I not realise this was a run up a mountain?!
At 9km I was blindly trudging through thick snow and white-out fog. I was completely alone atop a glacier and to be honest a certain amount of panic set in, especially when the snow dissipated into gravel with zero footsteps to follow. Fortunately, there were two runners still behind me who caught up and showed me the way. But then they overtook me and I was left to trail behind – officially in last place.
Finally, with two kilometres to go, I emerged onto a road with a direct route into town. I kept myself going by eyeing up a lamppost, sprinting to it, then walking to the next and sprinting to the next until finally, I could see the finish line and the handful of people waiting for me so they could pack up and go home!
The last time I came last in a race I was at primary school. I took part in a fancy dress race where you had to put on five items of clothing before running to the finish line. My Mother had provided me with one of my Dad’s shirts and a full-length raincoat with more buttons than you can even imagine. I remember all my school mates throwing on their hats and scarfs and shooting off to the finish line while I struggled to do up all the hundreds of buttons on the raincoat. Every single kid had finished the race before I even started. It was probably one of the most humiliating experiences of my life running alone while all the parents, kids and teachers laughed at me. So it’s been a bit of a life mission never ever to come last again!
But, you know what… I don’t even care that I came last in this race! It was so unbelievably hard, and I was so close to quitting that I actually feel proud. Not everyone can say they completed a 22km run over a mountain! This experience was incredible. But next time, I’ll definitely consider training a bit more beforehand!