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Race previews Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon

06 April 2023, 5pm

Run through downtown Reykjavik, residential areas, nearby a salmon river and along the beach

Clean air at smoky bay

Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon
Sat 19 August 2023

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There are several good reasons for distance runners to pick Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon as their destination race.

It is the biggest running event in Iceland and the electric atmosphere surrounding the race is hugely important for most runners. Icelanders enthusiastically support the race and it is planned to coincide with ‘Culture Night’ (Menningarnótt), a national event that brings up to a third of the entire population of Iceland onto the streets of the capital. This is truly an epic arts festival with all kinds of events all over town, be it theatre, music, fine arts, food or just fun.

Another reason to run here is the city itself: the Viking name, Reykjavík, may literally translate as ‘smoky bay’, but the name refers to the steam rising from Iceland’s many geothermal springs. Reykjavík has some of the cleanest air of any city. Situated on a peninsula, water features heavily in the self-proclaimed ‘Party Capital of the North’, with the old town nestled around a large pond called Tjörnin. Teeming with birdlife, Tjörnin is like an oasis in the maze of old wooden houses covered in colourful corrugated iron that comprise the downtown area. Reykjavík has the very unusual feel of a modern international city trying to fit into a nineteenth century fishing village.

The race offers an atmosphere which is both relaxed and welcoming. The marathon distance is open for all men and women 18 years and older. The course of the Reykjavik Marathon is unique and very scenic. The single-lap marathon starts in Sóleyjargata and finishes downtown in Lækjargata within sight of the pond and the city hall (all distances start and finish in the same place). The location is unbeatable, considering that many hotels are within 5–10 minutes’ walking distance from the start of the race. The Reykjavik Marathon also includes 21km, 10km and Family Fun Run (3km) which makes it an all-round family event. Many runners run the Family Fun Run after having done their own race.

For the first time this year the Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon added a three-gender option (female, male and non-binary). Registration is open and awards will be given for these three categories. Reykjavik Sports Association is the organiser of the event and is excited to welcome everybody to our events regardless of gender, gender identity and gender characteristics.

Although only around 200,000 people live in the Greater Reykjavik area large crowds gather in the streets to support the runners. But parts of the course pass through uninhabited areas where there are few spectators, giving the runners a chance to enjoy Iceland’s spectacular natural scenery.

All participants in the Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon can collect donations on behalf of a charity of their choosing, the race is the biggest charity fundraiser in Iceland.

Reykjavik marathon has been a member in AIMS since 1984 and a part of the world’s leading distance running organisation for almost 40 years. Join us in Iceland, run in great company and in a beautiful natural environment.

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