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NEXT ROVING RACE: MADAGASCAR 2014

RacingThePlanet: Iceland 2013 Blogs

Arrival in Iceland
21-Oct-2013 09:25:19 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

It is night in Iceland, but the sun still shines outside in beautiful Reykjavik. I am finalizing my packing in anticipation of tomorrow's departure to the Central Highlands of Iceland where we will camp for the night before the start of this race on Sunday morning. I hope to post updates daily during the week, and please know how much I appreciate all who read this simple blog (your comments have been so helpful during past races). I am running in support of Guitars for Swaziland - www.guitarsforswaziland.org - a passion project and charity that I am so proud to be a part of. This race promises to be cold, rainy, windy and (from the photos I have seen) absolutely breathtaking in many parts, and I feel so fortunate to be in Iceland. More to come and enjoy your weekend wherever you may be!
Stage 2
21-Oct-2013 09:25:12 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Today's theme was glaciers. We arose this morning around 6am frozen in our tent (the weather was -2 Celsius, we were told) and quickly got to work getting prepared for the day. This entails making a quick breakfast (oatmeal and coffee for me), feet check (bandages, etc.), putting on layers of clothing and generally packing and arranging things you need for the day. The first 10Km of the stage were on an ATV track so I was able to make great time and run with a tail wind. At the first CP we broke off onto a rocky field. The terrain was rough (rock and sand) but not as bad as it looked, fortunately. At a certain point we crossed a rushing river (there was a creaky ladder that rose to a wooden bridge - we were all thankful it was there as some rivers we will have to muster through) and then faced a sharp incline. At the top of this incline you could see a glacier unfold before you. It was snowy white and palacial with a freezing wind flowing off the top of it (I estimate 40mph) and we were told the next few kms were going to be straight into this glacial wind. At times it was so strong it almost stood me up, so I just kept my head down and slowly moved. We descended and passed alongside a glacier lake (impressive - one guy I saw put his hand in it just to feel how cold it was - he said it was so cold it was "almost hot") and then we moved across a lava type desert towards the next checkpoint. My knee got tweaked somewhere along the madness, so I was running with a limp but still managing to move at a decent clip. Finally we reached the last checkpoint and were told it was 11km into camp. This road was mostly ATV and, despite being cold and hungry, it went by relatively quickly. I think we covered 30 miles today and everyone seems to feel it. Now, we are camped out at a horse farm and I am typing this in a stable that has modified for the night into a cyber tent and hot water dispensing dining room. I am going to fix a quick dinner (beans and rice), make some hot chocolate and enjoy a night sleeping on grass rather than rock. Everyone is pretty beat up (most are moving gingerly) but all are glad to have 2 days in the books and a warmer night ahead. The mood in out tent is pretty light, which is great. Thanks so much for the comments! I just got to read them and know they are greatly appreciated. I will try to update again tomorrow. Have a great day/night!
Stage 1
21-Oct-2013 09:23:51 AM [(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time: Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London]

Iceland's name is well-deserved! We arrived at our first camp last night and the sun of Reykjavik and the semi-warm coast quickly gave way to cloudy skies, strong wind, sharp temperatures and rain. Our camp was in the Central Highlands between two large glaciers and the weather forced us all to hunker down in our tents and try to stay warm. Needless to say, last night was a rough night but my tent mates (all veterans of many races; hailing from the UK, Russia and South Africa) kept the mood light. This morning, we awoke at 5 am and started prepping our gear and ourselves for the first day of running. I threw on every item of clothing I brought and felt decently warm at the starting line as damp wind pounded me in the face. One the race started, however, all discomfort quickly fled, and it felt comforting to finally be in motion. We had a few difficult climbs with the wind in our face, but about a third of the way through the day we turned and had the wind at our back. I kept a good pace (partly because I felt good and partly to avoid stopping - one gets cold here immediately if you stop) and I ran most of the day with a competitor from Israel names Nir. He is a great guy and strong runner. We pushed our pace throughout and finished the day in good time. Now, I am back at camp and enjoying some Ramen noodles. Fortunately, I have no blisters and only a few usual aches and pains to nurse. I am looking forward to an afternoon of relaxation before we run line up for another 29 miles tomorrow (they have front-loaded the distances this race - we will have a shorter long stage on Thursday as a result). A few quick impressions of Iceland - the views here are incredibly expansive. There are no real trees or impediments to your view so one looks out unto all of Iceland, it seems, with every gaze. A competitor told me that his taxi driver told him a joke about this - Q: What do you do in Iceland if you are lost? Answer: Stand up. This is probably not funny in writing, but out here it made my day. No puffins sightings yet but we ran by dozens of sheep and horses (who stand defiantly against the wind in protest - thereby earning my full respect). There is quite a line developing here so folks can blog and send emails, so I am going to wrap up. Hoping to stay healthy and warm, both difficult things to do here. Hope everyone reading this does the same (or if you are in Texas, stay cool)! 
DANIEL ROARK
RacingThePlanet: Iceland 2013

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DANIEL ROARK
RacingThePlanet: Iceland 2013 competitor

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Hometown
Austin, Texas

Profession
Legal

Why are you competing?
Charity, Challenge, Travel

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