The Story of Team Fjalló & the Laugavegur Ultramarathon

03. July 2017
Icelandic Mountain Guides

This is a story about 12 greats friends, 7 runners, 1 great adventure and 1 good cause. This year, a group of our guides and office staff are participating in the 55km Laugavegur Ultramarathon, a gruelling 55km journey through the Icelandic Highlands. For some of them this intense journey has taken many months of training and preparation to get to prepare for.

Who are they?

Who is in the team, you might be wondering? Well, here they are, from the Left as per the picture above:

Arnaud, BarðiTimothyPalmi, Selma, Thornsteinn and Reynir

A trail run, and more than a trail run

In addition to the trail run itself, Team Fjalló has chosen to seize the opportunity and use the run to raise funds to support Pieta, a new organisation dedicated to revitalizing the institutional options available to those who have been affected by mental health issues. All funds raised will go directly to the oragnisation, and there are prizes too!

The participating guides are offering up hiking, glacier walking and mountaineering trips to those that donate

All donations will be matched by Icelandic Mountain Guides!

Icelandic Mountain Guides
Land Rover crossing a river

How did it all start?

It all started with a winter running course. With a steady and rigorous winter training schedule, they have been gradually building up their fitness. When the ultramarathon came up, and they all signed up! Only 2 of the whole team are very experienced runners, so they had a monumental task ahead of them. That was January. Now here we are, 3 weeks from the ultramarathon. This is our team.

Runner Selma

The Going

The Laugavegur Ultra Marathon is a pretty intense trail run. It’s exactly the same as the Laugevgur trail, which is hiked in 4 days; however, many of the runners will finish the ultra marathon in as little as 6 hours, with the record held at 4 hours. The team hopes hopes to finish the ultra marathon within 5-8 hours of starting off in Landmannalaugar.

Team Fjalló camping

There are prizes too! the participating are offering up hiking, glacier walking and mountaineering trips to those that donate.

Icelandic Mountain Guides

Mental as well as physical preparation

They have had a great training season, finishing the trail in two-sessions over one weekend three weeks before the race. The physical challenge of a race like this is great; ahead of them lies 55 kilometers of rough trail, exhaustion and discomfort. 

But an event like this presents an even greater mental challenge. Where are there rivers that need fording (there are 3 of varying size and flow)? Where is it flat? Where is it steep? Due to the fact that the terrain is so varied and has so many different ups and downs and twists and turns, knowing what to expect from the path ahead provides a level of familiarity that can help steer the team all the way to the end. 

You have to keep going no matter what (within reason, everybody needs to know their limits). You must stay positive as fatigue sets in (because it variably will) and it feels like failure is hiding behind every hill, staying strong all the way through. Forcing one’s mind to keep going can often be so much harder than just physically taking one more step.

Running in the nature

Why not throw in a good cause also?

Although this is a story about a group of great friends getting together and really challenging themselves, it is also a story about supporting a good cause.

To this end, Team Fjalló have chosen to support Pieta, a new organisation dedicated to revitalizing the institutional options available to those who have been affected by depression and suicide. Pieta House expands the societal and institutional support in these where this kind of support in Iceland in Iceland is gravely lacking. 

Pieta Iceland is going to change this. They will soon open a house in which services will be provided to anyone who needs them, free of charge. White halls lined with fluorescent light and exhausted nurses will be exchanged for a normal household where doctors dress in everyday attire, and where follow-up sessions are guaranteed in a homely setting.

Mountain in Laugavegur hike

Team Fjalló has set up a donation and sponsor page with You Caring crowdfunding site for the ultramarathon, in order to raise funds for Pieta House. Moreover, Icelandic Mountain Guides has pledged to match the proceeds that team Fjalló raises; the more they get, the more we give too!

If you want to contribute towards Team Fjalló’s ultramarathon and sponsor the project, please see the link to the donation page (not available anymore) where you can pledge money for the run, and the donation will be matched by Icelandic Mountain Guides! 

There are prizes too! The guides that are participating in the run are offering up hiking, glacier walking and mountaineering trips to those that donate. Don't miss this chance to get on a trip of a lifetime!

Einhyrningur Mountain

Wish them luck!


We are very proud of the team for getting together, not just do the race but also because they have decided to get behind this great cause! We wish them the very best of luck with the ultramarathon on July 15th. Do you want to wish them luck yourself? Drop a comment below this post and let them know!

Team Fjalló - Icelandic Mountain Guides
Small Icelandic hut

About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

Subscribe to the Icelandic Mountain Guides Blog

Outdoor adventure in Iceland is our specialty. Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter to learn when to go, what to do and where to have the best adventures in Iceland.

Reader’s Comments