Mount Esja Becomes Running Track

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Mount Esja Becomes Running Track

By Alëx Elliott
Reykjavík and Esja mountain

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Today people are literally running up Mount Esja, the landmark mountain across the bay from Reykjavík.

The Mt. Esja Ultra event is taking place for the third year running and will see all sorts of very fit people running up and down the mountain, which is a bracing and challenging walk for most people. But the runners are not even allowed to scale the mountain only once!

The event has three difficulty levels; the easiest of which allows interested runners to run up and down the mountain twice, which is a 14 kilometer route with 1,200 meters of elevation.

Elísabet Margeirsdóttir, nutritionist, is the event organizer. “It is completely possible. Nearly everyone has finished who started and the experience has been good for people. It is also a lot more fun than it sounds,” she told Vísir.is.

Elísabet says that people of all shapes and sizes have taken part in the run in previous years. “There is a great atmosphere and participants are good at encouraging each other onward when they meet en route. Most who have done this already have experience of long runs and have run overseas, for example on mountain runs. The main thing is not starting off with too much haste.”

By early this week five people had already registered for the most difficult challenge: running Mount Esja 11 times. Only one of the five, Friðleifur Friðleifsson, had managed the feat before. He set the mountain record last year, scaling Esja ten times in nine hours and 43 minutes.

“The point of the run is to collect points. Competitors can get points which give them entry to more difficult runs overseas,” Elísabet explains.

The eleventh climb in the most difficult category has been added this year (up from ten), due to harsher entry conditions in other countries. It increases the run by 7 km.

Competitors must be 18 or over for the five-climb run, and there is a 20-year age limit on the 11 climb run.

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