Race info

Be a force of nature!

Steaming geysers, black lava rock and volcano craters set the scene for this amazing race.

We are in the North Volcanic Zone of Northern Iceland where the forces of inner Earth is at full display. Feel the soft crunch of black volcano sand beneath your shoes while running through this hot spot where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates divide...

Bring your natural forces to run in this beautiful and challenging scenery.

The route is run mainly on dirt tracks and trails near Lake Mývatn and the town of Reykjahlid.

Route map
Elevation

Race information

Everything you need to know should be right here. If there is something specific you are looking for that you can’t find, feel free to write us with your question.

Disclaimer

Please note that all decisions made by the race officials and or medical team are final and not up for discussion.

Albatros Adventure Marathons reserve the right to change the itinerary and/or running course without further notice in the event of extreme weather. This also includes the decision to cut the course short.

By signing up for this event you agree to the Terms & Conditions of Albatros Adventure Marathons.

Shoes

The Iceland Volcano Marathon can be run in a pair of normal running shoes, but trail running shoes is recommended if running for a top placement.

Awards

All finishers receive a medal. A small, symbolic prize is awarded to the top three finishers in each race (marathon, half marathon and Polar Bear Challenge) in the male and female categories. Please note that there is no prize money. 

Time limits

The race has a time limit of 7 hours from the start of the marathon.

A 5 hour cut off point lies at the 32.5km mark.

Runners still on the route after the time is up, or haven't passed the cut off point in time, will be picked up by a race official or medical car and driven back to the finish area. 

Dates

The Iceland Volcano Marathon takes place in July. In 2020, the event takes place on the 25th of July.
The 2021 race date has not yet been determined.

Distances

The Iceland Volcano Marathon features three distances.
A classic 42.195km marathon, a 21.097km half marathon, and a 10.55km quarter marathon.

Eligibility

To participate in the marathon, runners must be minimum 18 years of age on race day. 

To participate in the half marathon, runners must be minimum 16 years of age on race day.

To participate in the quarter marathon, runners must be minimum 6 years of age on race day. Runners under the age of 12, however, must be accompanied by an adult.

Medical Team

A team of Danish doctors and Icelandic paramedics will be present during the race. The medical team is ready in case of injury or severe exhaustion. A doctor will be patrolling the route and a doctor will stand by in the finish area. If the medical team finds it necessary they can stop a runner and take him/her out of the race. Decisions on taking runners out of the race will only be done if the medical team believes there is a serious health risk in continuing. 

All decisions made by the medical team are final and not up for discussion.

Runners who wish to drop out of the marathon should go to the nearest drink station. Transport to the finish area will be arranged for all runners who leave the race, but please be aware there will be a waiting time. 

If you take daily medicine prescribed by your physician or need any other medication, please inform the race doctors in advance by writing to marathon@albatros-adventure.com.

Photos and certificate

Finisher photos and other race images will be available after the race. Some race images will also be available in the gallery.

A finisher’s certificate will be available for free download from the website of our photo partner www.marathon-photos.com.

Race officials

The race officials reserve the right to change the course and other aspects of the race without advance notice. Please note that all decisions made by the race officials and/or medical team are final.

Registration

Registration for the Iceland Volcano Marathon is done in combination with booking the 6-day tour package.
Race entry only is not possible.

Click here to register.

Runners residing in Iceland can contact us at marathon@albatros-adventure.com for details on local registration.

Route description

Gatklettur Arch in Dimmuborgir

 

The Route

The Iceland Volcano Marathon and half marathon both start at the foot of the mighty Hverfjall volcano crater. The route leads runners west across a road composed of volcanic sand and gravel and onto the main road that encircles Lake Mývatn. 

The next 2.5km are run on asphalt and led to the unique lava field of Dimmuborgir, which means “Black Fortress.” An eruption roughly 2300 years ago created this vast expanse of black lava stacks and caves – folklore surrounding the region often associates it with the gates of hell. In Dimmuborgir, the route follows narrow trails in a counterclockwise circle and then runs under the Gatklettur Arch (pictured).

From there, the trail narrows to a single track for the following 1.1 km. The flora here is extremely fragile and it is very, very important that all runners exercise extra caution and stay on the trail. Do not pass each other if it means stepping off the trail and do make room for each other!

As the trail widens up again, the mighty Hverfjall crater is now front and center. Running clockwise around it, we’ll pass the start line just before heading up the crater itself. Rising more than 100 meters, the view from the top offers a 360-degree view of the North Volcanic Zone. The route follows the rim of the crater all the way around – a 4 km circuit – and back down the same trail we came up.

Continuing north, the route comes very close to the Jardbödin Nature Baths and, although the baths can’t be seen from the route, the volcanic activity below the surface can be seen in the steam rising from the ground.
 

Marathon

The marathon runners will now split away from the half-marathon runners as they turn right and run along the east side of the Hverfjall crater. The surface changes to pitch black volcanic sand and lava rock in a landscape that looks more like the moon than the earth.

Shortly after passing the halfway mark, the marathon route changes back to a gray-green landscape consisting of lava rock and shrubbery and leads runners to the bottom of the Ludent crater. At the 25km mark, runners start an out-and-back stretch of approximately 2.5 km, running along a line of smaller craters that popped up more than 2000 years ago as the volcanic activities moved south.

There is a 5-hour cut-off point at 31.5 km, meaning that runners who did not reach 31.5 km within 5 hours of the start will be removed from the race and driven back to the finish line. After the cut-off point, runners will find themselves on another tough, shorter hill leading back onto the black volcanic sand, and then following the same path back towards the Jardbödin Nature Baths and merging again with the half marathon runners. 
 

Marathon & Half Marathon

The final 4 km begin with about 1.5 km on asphalt, taking us past the Grjótagá cave, which was made famous in Game of Thrones (although the cave cannot be seen from the route).

The last 2.5 km stretch is run on a gravel road will lead runners to the finish line at the Vogar Ferdathjonusta.

 

Notes:

When passing places of public interest it is important to keep in mind that this race doesn't have exclusivity in the area and all roads and sights are open to regular visitors and locals too. With the early start, however, most of the route will be fairly empty.

Do not forget that this is first and foremost an adventure. We are far away from comforts of home and this makes it impossible to offer services at the same level usually provided in city marathons.

Route logistics

Kilometre signs will be set up along the entire route. Owing to the conditions, however, they may be placed a few metres from the precise kilometre mark, so use signs for orientation only and don’t calculate your speed based on the signs. at critical intersections route marshalls will direct runners the right way.

Rules and regulations

Nordic walking poles (or trekking poles), canes and similar are not allowed.

Strollers/baby joggers are not allowed.

In compliance with Icelandic law it is strictly forbidden to walk/run outside the marked trails and roads.

Start/Finish

The Iceland Volcano Marathon & Half Marathon are both scheduled to start at 7:30am.  Last-minute changes to the start times may occur.

All runners who complete their distance within the time limit will receive a medal. A small, symbolic award will be presented to the top three finishers in each race in the male and female categories. 

A light meal is available for runners at the finish line. 

Runners still on the route after the cut off time will be picked up by a race official or medical car and driven back to the finish area. 

Start numbers

You will receive your start number (also called bib number) in your race pack at the race briefing in Akureyri 2 days before the race The start number must be placed on the front of your body and be visible at all times during the race.
The start numbers are color coded according to the distance you are running. Marathon numbers are black. Half marathon numbers are red.
A timing chip is placed on the back side of the start number. Do not bend or fold the start number as this may damage the chip, which will mean that your time is not recorded.

Supplies on the Route

Water stations will be set up along the course. All stations serve water and at selected stations you will also receive electrolyte drinks.
One station will be serving energy gels for the marathon runners while all runners will have a Personal Supply deposit possible at station C.
As the race is yet to be run for the first time, the exact placement of the water stations is not 100% confirmed, but expect them to be close to below table:

Station A: 4.5km
Station B: 8.5km
Station C: 10.5km and 14.5km (4.5km for quarter marathon runners)
Station D: 17km (7km for quarter marathon runners) and 38.5km
Station E: 21km and 33.5km (marathon only)
Station F: 25km and 30km
Station G: Finish line

See the route map for more details.

Remember that we run in wild and unspoiled nature and cups, empty bottles and other trash should be put in the litter bags at the water stations – please do not litter in nature!

Time taking and results

The races will be timed using BIB-chip. The BIB-chip is attached on the back of the bib number and will record each runners net finishing time. Do not fold or bend the bib number as it could damage the chip.

In the evening of the race a complete result list is expected to be ready. There are no age categories. 

Weather

The Icelandic summer is not known to be warm... 

Expect temperatures between 5-15 degrees Celsius. If lucky we may see the temperature rise to 20 degrees Celsius. Rain is to be expected sometime during your stay, so prepare for a little bit of everything.



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What others thought

The nature is simply stunning!

Thomas,
Iceland