Last September we visited Þórsmörk, one of our favorite places in Iceland, to take part for the first time in the Volcano Trail Run.
In in the days before the race the weather forecast was less then thrilling and sure enough the first autumn storm arrived on the race day. Early on a Saturday morning, we drove to the famous waterfall Seljalandsfoss in the south of Iceland. There we left the car and stepped into a monster truck provided by the organizers as the road from the waterfall to Þórsmörk is not accessible to normal cars. The drive to Þórsmörk is slow but exciting with multiple river crossings and the magnificent glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull always in sight.
In Reykjavik and by Seljalandsfoss the wind was blowing strongly, but by the time we came to Húsafell in Þórsmörk the wind had miraculously died down completely and the sun came out to reveal Þórsmörk in glorious autumn colors.
The most famous hiking trails in Iceland, the 55km Laugavegur trail and the 25km Fimmvörðuháls, both end (or start) in Þórsmörk.
The route of the race is the well-known and well-marked 12km trail circle of Tindfjöll mountains (Tindfjallahringur).
The trail starts in Húsadalur in Þórsmörk and goes through some of the most beautiful landscape in Iceland. At first there are birch woods then it is up onto the volcanic ridges and mountain tops over the Þórsmörk Nature Reserve before reaching the finish line back at Húsadalur. The highest point of the route is the fell Valahnúkur which is 275m high and is the final hurdle as well, it is on the last km and the last few hundred meters are down the hill straight to the finish line.
There are no aid stations along the way, however, participants can fill up their water bottles with water from the creeks that are on the way.
We had a wonderful time! The race was not easy, but there were enough people taking part that you never felt alone and never had trouble finding your way. The Volcano Trail Run felt almost like the Laugavegur Ultra trail race, only much shorter, with almost all the beauty of the Laugavegur race crammed into 12 km.
At the finish line there were barrels full of refreshments and after chatting with our friends and having a shower we went inside the hut to have a delicious meal and to meet some new friends.
The monster truck took as back another route to Seljalandsfoss waterfall, with the driver full of entertaining stories about the environment and the people who lived there past and present.
We would absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a beautiful and well put together trail race. We will certainly be back ourselves, hopefully with even more of our friends.