Would you compete in the 22nd annual Laugavegur Ultra Marathon? On July 14th, 2018, one of the most difficult races in the world will take place in the southern highlands of Iceland. The course stretches from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, a natural reservation area.
The Laugavegur Ultra Marathon spans 55 km, or 34 miles, throughout various challenging terrains. Participants run through sand, gravel, grass, snow, and ice. The race is not for the faint of heart, as participants are faced with climbing steep mountains and wading through frigid rivers. While hikers spend four days covering the distance of this marathon, the runners need only 5-9 hours.
So, how does one prepare for such a strenuous race? To begin, participants must be extremely qualified runners who are accustomed to mountain hikes or off-trail runs. A 20-week marathon training program is advised, in which participants run 31-43 miles per week. On top of running, mountain hikes and systematic strength training are recommended in the months leading up to the race.
Along with physical conditioning, mental preparation is key. Runners must be ready to deal with unexpected precipitation and terrain conditions due to Iceland’s frequently changing weather.
The gorgeous scenery throughout the course is not the only motivation that the 488 runners enjoy. For those that can push themselves to finish before the rest, they will find a variety of prizes waiting for them. The first three male and female finishers will receive merchandise and gift certificates from Adidas, Cintamani, and more. They also receive a trophy and prize money!
Though the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon has reached its maximum enrollment for this July, registration for the 2019 race will begin this January. If you were lucky enough to snag a spot in the upcoming race, be sure to tweet @IcelandNatural pictures of your final training sessions and your Ultra Marathon experience! Good luck!