Monday, June 26, 2017

Midnight Sun Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Friday, June 23
Reykjavik, Iceland
Half Marathon #165
Weather - Overcast, windy and rainy

Maureen had first mentioned wanting to run this race for her 60th birthday at least a year ago. We thought it sounded pretty damn cool, and thought that we could get A trained and ready to run with us.

Fast forward.

Race Night:

The race started at 9:00 pm. We had been out all day walking around (we think we had done at least 8 miles of walking by the time we headed to the start). We had eaten dinner and gotten dressed and decided to head over to the start by 7:30. We weren't quite sure what roads were going to be closed or where we could park. We parked on the back side of the sports hall and went inside to find out where we could drop our bags and to use the bathroom. There were already a lot of people inside - in addition to the half marathon, there was also a 10K and 5K. We quickly made friends with a group of guys from Florida and West Virginia (we struck up a conversation because they were wearing awesome Christmas tights under their shorts).

We then ran into Mo's friend Heather (she used to work at the Belmar store, but moved to Tennessee in the last year), and shortly after that we saw Matt and Molly, two elites on the Roost team. We managed to get a team picture and then realized we only had about 15 minutes until the race started so we headed to the bathroom.
We finally decided to just risk going out in the wind/rain early and use the port-o-potties, which had no line.

We got in line in the chute, the 10K started at the same time, took a selfie, and then we were off. A has regularly been running a long run of around 8 miles, but it had been a few months since she did her 13.1 mile training run. She had confessed that she was really nervous, but she was in good spirits and we did our best to rein her in so she didn't burn out.
Having run a few races outside of the US, it is fun to run in kilometers because it feels like you are making more progress, especially when every mile is marked.

I had no idea what to expect from the course - all I had done in advance was register. I assumed it would be at sea level and be fairly flat, so I was surprised when Mo started telling me about the climbing that we would have from 3-12km.

There were aid stations every 5k, and Mo and A both stopped to use the bathroom at the 5k mark. We ran the entire first section and took walk breaks on the hills in the middle part of the race. I took lots of pictures - for a road race, it was really pretty! Tons of wildflowers and LOTS of green. Everyone stayed in a good mood for the entire race.

We hit some glorious downhill after the 12k mark. Hit the last aid station at 15k and then the real work started. A was getting tired and Mo was struggling a bit as well. We took walk breaks a bit more often.

The last mile or two it got really windy again on the course and we really just wanted to be done. Finally we could hear the finish line and we all kicked it into high gear. The wind was howling and the gates at the chute were knocked down as we were running across the finish line. Both Mo and A were most concerned about finishing under the 3 hour cutoff. We crossed the finish line at 2:37:42!!!

Official Time - 2:37:42
Garmin Time - 2:37:49
Garmin Distance - 13.30 miles
Garmin Pace - 11:51
Elevation Gain - 636'
Mile 1 - 11:30
Mile 2 - 10:56
Mile 3 - 12:50
Mile 4 - 13:14
Mile 5 - 12:04
Mile 6 - 12:40
Mile 7 - 12:06
Mile 8 - 11:25
Mile 9 - 11:13
Mile 10 - 11:46
Mile 11 - 11:33
Mile 12 - 12:03
Mile 13 - 11:22
Mile 13.3 - 10:12

After crossing the line we got mylar blankets and some instant hot chocolate. There was only bananas and pretzels at the finish - no other food or water!

We were freezing, but walked back to the sports hall to get our drop bags and head over to the hot springs pool. All runners had free entry and the pool was open until 1 am. Being in America, we are pretty modest. We spent a lot of time being embarrassed in the locker room since we had to shower naked before we could enter. By the time we got in a pool it was already 12:30. The water was not nearly as warm as I expected, which made it even harder to get out of the water to shower and get back into our yucky race clothes. We REALLY regretted not driving the car to the pool, as the walk back to the car was incredibly cold. By the time we got home we ate our donuts and went to bed... at like 2 in the morning.
Stupid night races.


  1. Hey there! I'm thinking about signing up for the Midnight Sun race too, and I'm curious about a couple of things: did you feel like your shorts/long sleeved shirt combo was good for the race?What would you say the temperature was like? Was there anything like gummies or snacks at any of the stations? When I ran my first half I found I was RAVENOUS at mile 9... Also, did you feel pretty safe running?
    Thank you so much! It was great to read about this.

    1. Hello! I absolutely cannot remember what was at the aid stations. Typically I bring my own fuel for half marathons, so I probably had a package of Honey Stinger chews or something. Definitely felt safe out there, even though it was late at "night," it was certainly bright enough to see where we were going, and we did not encounter any areas that seemed dangers. As for my outfit,the skirt was fine, and I actually did get a bit warm with my layers. Probably could have done without the long sleeve top underneath.


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