It’s the best day of the year. The day thousands of runners head to the center of town and line up for the start of the Reykjavik Marathon.
Unless injury strikes at the worst possible time, I will be one of them. This will be my 15th time and it only keeps getting better.
There are so many great memories from this day.
My first ever half marathon, which I ran in 2:01. I am pretty sure that those winning Olympic medals in Rio can’t be any happier than I was that day.
Or the race, eleven years later, when I broke 1:30. That’s one race story I’m never tired of telling (nor any other for that matter).
Of course not all the races have gone well.
Like the one where I pressed hard against the wind in stormy conditions, thinking this would maybe still be a great race as I would fly to the finish in the second part of the race with the wind in my back. Needless to say it didn’t work out like that as all my energy had been spent on the first half of the race.
Or the failed attempt to pace a friend to a PR that started way too fast and ended in disaster as she collapsed 3km from the finish line. It was a long walk to the finish line.
For me the race festival starts the day before, at the expo. I have often been volunteering there, serving pasta or handing out t-shirts. It is always a great occasion, with a vibrant atmosphere where people meet and discuss their race plans with other nervous runners.
And the race isn‘t truly over when I cross the finish line. Many runners stay downtown, filling various restaurants and bars, reloading on carbs and telling their race story to any willing listeners. Who needs a shower?
The half marathon is really my favorite distance, especially in the Reykjavik Marathon. Out of my fourteen races, one was the full marathon but thirteen were half marathons.
I like to start slowly, meeting and chatting to fellow runners as I gear up for the second part of the race. In the “old days” I used to know almost everyone on the course. Fortunately there are a lot more people running now and the race has become more international with as many foreign runners as local in the race. But there are still many people you meet on the way. Alliances are made and plans discussed. Like in my dream race when I met a faster friend at 16km and we decided to make a push together for 1.29.59.
This year I am not in the best of shape.
But it will probably be one of those races where I will decide that somehow by miracle I am in better shape than my recent training or race times suggest, go out too fast and end in slow motion running towards the last corner in front of the Harpa concert hall.
Still, I can’t wait.
See you all at the Reykjavik Marathon.
Photos: Íþróttabandalag Reykjavíkur / Eva Björk Ægisdóttir & Eyjólfur Garðason