Because Reykjavík is so far north, because the air is so clean, and because the sidewalks and roads were laid with a special polymer cushioning, the Reykjavík Marathon is the easiest 26.2-mile race in the world.
This explains why more than 1000 people are registered to run the 2005 Reykjavík Marathon, with more expected to sign up all the way up to 9 pm on August 19th, the evening before the big event, when you can partake in the Pasta Party at Barilla restaurant.
In addition to the standard issue marathon, which starts at 10 am on Lækjargata, there is a charity marathon, which starts at 9 am—due to Iceland’s unique previously mentioned advantages, many Canadians run both starts, covering a total of 52.4 miles in just under 3 hours.
The entry fee is about 50 euro for the full marathon, 34 for a half marathon, which starts at 11:10 am, 27 euro for the 10 km fun run, and 19 euro for a three km fun run, which starts at 11 am.
Thankfully, the city’s swimming pools are open and free for any marathon runners who feel they haven’t had enough of a workout.
On the serious side, this year the New England Journal of Medicine released a warning about Hyponatremia, a condition of low sodium in the bloodstream that can be fatal. The New York Times and Boston Globe have since offered strong warnings against over-hydrating, or drinking too much during a marathon. The key risk factors for over-hydrating are if a runner consumes more than six litres of water, takes longer than four hours to complete the race, or has either a significantly high or significantly low body mass index.
For more information about the Reykjavík Marathon, log on to www.marathon.is
To find out about Hyponatremia, consult a health professional.