Challenge Iceland Gallery

Jórunn Rothenborg of MyIceland.Guide is an amazing Certified Guide in Iceland who, along with her husband Eddi Birgisson, were my hosts for the race and also volunteered on race day.

Jórunn captured these photos on a cold and blustery day in Iceland. The strong winds (40mph+ / 60kph+) caused the Race Directors to shorten the swim to a downwind 1500m swim. The race course otherwise remained unchanged.

Defending Champion Kevin Collington crashed early on in the bike as a result of the strong winds and may have broken his collarbone.

Water temps were in the neighborhood of 54F (12.5 C). Air temperature was between 55-59F (13-15C).

Yes, that is snow up there. Yes, it is summer.

Nobody seemed interested in getting in much earlier than necessary. And there wasn't much in the way of warming up.

The sun finally came out at about 9PM (that is not a typo), well after the race was over.

Walking to the start through the very shallow (and very cold) water.

The water of Meðalfellsvatn is clean and clear. You can drink the water straight out of the lake if you wish.

The wind was blowing hard all day.

Some male pros (in pink caps for this race) exit the water.

What to wear? The decision about what to put on - and what not to put on - was a big challenge. Putting on gloves was a good idea, except that it was quite hard to do with numb hands.

The race had 230 participants, up from only 51 in its inaugural year in 2015, but close to 100 volunteers.

Women's winner Jeanni Seymour ran a disc but smartly paired it with a shallow front wheel.

Race creator Viðar Þorsteinsson (with the bushy beard) was the man who had the vision for this amazing course.

Justin Metzler of the USA won on the heels of the day's fastest half-marathon and an overall very balanced performance.

The men's podium was an international affair wit Metzler (USA) in 1st, Trevor Wurtele (CAN) in 2nd, and Jesper Svenson (SWE) in 3rd.

Jeanni Seymour hugs women's runner-up (and defending champion) Heather Wurtele, who took a hard spill in the final 50m as the run transitions from the road the finishing chute on the grass. It was a sprint finish as Seymour closed with a very fast half-marathon the just pip Heather - who led for most of the day after a dominant bike ride - at the line.

Eddi Birgisson fills the giant plastic tubs with hot water to allow athletes a warm bath post race. Many, many, many of the racers availed themselves of this unique and welcome post-race treat.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Metzler and Seymour, who are a couple in addition to both being 2017 Challenge Iceland champions, enjoy a warm soak together. All smiles after a very tough day that ended with great wins for both of them.

Lachlan Kerin of Australia finished in 7th place on a very tough day and here soaks out the cold.

Race director Pétur Einarsson broadcast onto Facebook Live the whole weekend and here does an interview with an athlete in a tub.

Eddi is a Civil Engineer and triathlete, so we enjoyed being nerds together for much of the weekend.

The bike course follows a fjord for almost the full 56mi (90km) and is truly stunning.