Reykjavik Half Marathon: 18 August 2007
7 serpies set off for Reykjavik and it was quite a performance with several PBs, two top 5 prizes, a 3rd placing team and a spot prize for one lucky serpie. There was a disappointing lack of serpie kit on show from the male runners, but the serpie ladies made up for it with a full turnout in club colours.
We were fortunate with the weather; Reykjavik is known as quite a windy course but the Saturday morning was calm and cool, temperature c.15deg, and bright sunshine (sunglasses a must). The town centre start was not crowded even with a couple of thousand runners, and Olympic marathon champion Baldini was also lining up for the half.
The marathon and half marathon course set off and stay together for the first 15km or so, a gently undulating route around the coast of Reykjavik city, short diversion through a shipyard, then finishing back in the town centre while the marathon veers off on a slightly hillier inland second half. The crowds at the finish were great and there was sporadic but enthusiastic support elsewhere on the route.
With generous prizes going 5 deep in both the marathon and half and 3 deep for teams, serpie runners did well: Joanne Wilson placed 4th in the marathon (with a 10 min PB), Rachel Whittaker came 5th in the half marathon (a 2min PB), the serpie team anchored by Urban Bettag claimed 3rd place team, and Chris Saunders bagged a spot prize for his magnificent demonstration of a Sumo sprint! Admirable performances also from Aaron Gaulke in his first half marathon race, Kiera Davidson getting back to fitness after injury, and Ian Sharman clocked an impressive PB despite it being his 5th marathon in 3 weekends.
Race organisation was excellent with drink stations every 5km, bananas and galaxy chocolate at the finish, not to mention good value for money: pasta party the night before is included in the race entry fee, the T-shirt is a nice technical one (albeit only available in mens sizes), you get a buff, and a free visit to one of Reykjavik's geothemal pools during race weekend.
Reykjavik is a great city for a short break, and while it certainly is as expensive as its reputation holds, there are reasonably priced flights and accommodation to be found if you're prepared to be flexible. It's definitely worth stocking up at the duty free before you leave the airport though.
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