27 Nov

Ice cool marathon in Reykjavik

runners at Reykjavik Marathon

A favourite winter pursuit of runners is to fantasise about all the great races they are going to take part in soon. To help get your imagination working we're taking you on a trip to one of the world's best destinations and its feature race.

It's a small, but perfectly formed, event on the global calendar but it does generate a lot of interest from the UK running public. Our destination is Iceland and the event, Reykjavik Marathon.

The prospect of Reykjavik will obviously excite marathoners but a five race programme – marathon, half marathon and 10K plus 3K and 600m fun runs – makes this a potential family or group trip.

The 2020 marathon will take place in August and is programmed for the same day as Reykjavik Culture Night, an annual event, held since 1996. Culture night is one of the most popular events in Iceland and is a high point of the city's year. An amazing art festival with all kinds of happenings all over town, be it theatre, music, fine arts, food or just fun.

The races themselves offer an atmosphere which is both relaxed and welcoming. Around 1,500 runners participate in the marathon and 3,000 in the half marathon, meaning busy city races with lots of colour and excitement but with enough space to enjoy your dramatic surroundings.

There is a great buzz at the event generated by big international representations. Hundreds of runners from the USA and the UK are joined by large contingents from Germany and Canada. Organisers expect 70+ nations to be represented in 2020.

Conditions in August are usually comfortable, with temperatures in the mid-teens. Much of the marathon route is along the coastline of Reykjavik and Seltjarnarnes, offering participants the benefits of the fresh breeze from the ocean with blue mountains as the backdrop. The route is smoothly paved and flat.

Previous participants have stressed the great marathon course with its mix of Nordic urban sections and dramatic coastal stretches. And they've also liked the laurel wreaths for finishers. Top tip for a great trip – find a 'Happy Hour' app, the price of drinks can be pretty steep!

The team at Reykjavik Marathon told runABC: "Participation in Reykjavik Marathon will be a once in a lifetime experience, a great way to see the city and an opportunity to enjoy the unique Icelandic ambience."