Going long in Iceland

Over the weekend, 51 hearty souls took part in the first open water half distance race in Iceland. In a time where race directors are looking to get at least 1,000 participants to the start, the organizing crew in Iceland was content. And 51 starters included individual starters, teams, and those who only wanted to do the swim/bike duathlon.

"This was the inaugural race just to test the course and get the organization up and running. We did not advertise the event so getting 50 people was great, not to mention [having] Macca and [Nick] Saunders," said race director Pétur Einarrson. "However even with as small a number as 50, the race is already viable as such but obviously in the future we are hoping to get a few hundred athletes to compete which will make it a really attractive event and a good reason for international guests to attend and visit Iceland. On the other hand it should be mentioned that our population is only 330,000 so our per capita participation was massive!"

Below are images from this stunning triathlon location.

Almost the complete field is in view as the Iceland Half is about to begin.

The field is headed to the turn buoy.

It is time to come back to shore.

Macca was out of the water in 27:17, but he did not complete the race.

Erlendur Birgisson leads a competitor over this ridge.

Hordur Gudmundsson on the way to 5th place, with a 2:54:49 bike split.

Macca was all smiles on the bike, but with an Achilles hampering and a cold he only swam and biked.

Race winner Nick Saunders was bundled up and ready for action.

Trausti Valdimarsson finished 8th overall and first in 50-99 in 5:19:26.

Viðar Bragi Þorsteinsson on the way to the runner-up spot with a race best 2:31:27 bike split.

3rd place for Petur Einarsson in M50-99.

Irina Oskardottir finished 3rd in F40-49.

Telma Matthíasdóttir on the way to the runner-up spot in 5:37:24.

Full throttle for Margrét Pálsdóttir, on the way to 3rd female overall.

Geir Ómarsson won the swim/bike duathlon.

Nick Saunders running to the win with no one else in view behind.

The area where this race takes place is stunning from every angle.

Giving back to the fans and volunteers.

Vidar Bragi Thorsteinsson with bib 203 races towards 2nd place.

"What a fantastic race! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience from start to finish. The scenery was fantastic which helped me get through a tough race. What I especially enjoyed was how welcoming the locals were and the atmosphere of the race itself was completely relaxed. It was great to line up with a 4x world champion in Chris McCormack," said race champion Nick Saunders. "The race was good preparation for my next race which is a full Ironman distance in Vichy, France. I felt great all day and was pushed by Vidar. I was very happy to win Iceland’s first long distance triathlon."

2015 Iceland Triathlon

Top men

1. Nick Saunders (GBR) 4:30:06
2. Vidar Bragi Thorsteinsson (ISL) 4:39:30
3. Egill Valur Hafsteinsson (ISL) 5:10:38

Top women

1. Ebba Saerun Brynjarsdottir (ISL) 5:21:27
2. Telma Matthiasdottir (ISL) 5:37:24
3. Margret Palsdottir (ISL) 5:48:01

All images © Arnold Björnsson