The Land of Fire and Ice

If you came here to learn where you could find a race course and conditions ripe to secure a new PR, you'd best turn around now and head for the door.

Extreme endurance events have been steadily rolling out over the past few years and a few of the most exciting ones are the creations of Aaron Palaian at Extreme Endurance Events.

Two years ago, Palaian brought extreme triathlon racing to North America with Alaskaman. That race in The Last Frontier State will return for it's third edition on June 29, 2019 and is part of the XTRI World Series, which offers slots into the nearly-impossible-to-enter Norseman Xtreme.

However, it is the recently announced Ísland Extreme Triathlon to be held on July 27, 2019 that has us checking WOW Air for flights.

In recent years, Iceland has become increasingly more accessible and affordable for North Americans to travel to and many are taking advantage of lost cost flight options to visit this country of extreme geographical contrasts. Now you have a great excuse to pack your wetsuit, bike and shoes.

Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice and this course will have both on display as it takes place in and around Snæfellsjökull National Park, one of the most highly recommended tourist areas in the country.

Those tackling an extreme triathlon are well aware that most organizers ask athletes to have a flexible mindset. The water is often cold, and combined with the likelihood of inhospitable weather, courses are often modified (though not necessarily shortened) to keep athletes safe. The 2.4-mile saltwater swim takes place in not-easy-to-say Kolgrafartjördur Cove.

Full length wetsuits are mandatory and other neoprene accessories like booties, hoods and gloves are all strongly recommended with water temps expected to be 50-55 degrees.

The bike course deviates from the standard iron-distance template and is listed as being 121.5-miles long. The course is not contrived and breaks the mold of a 112-mile course because, well, because that is what the roads on the island dictate the course should be. This is one of the most refreshing aspects of races coming out of Scandinavia and we have written often on this category called Subversive Tri.

The bike will feature rolling hills and takes athletes around the perimeter of the Snæfellsjökull National Park with massive glaciers as well as lava fields and lava tubes on display.

The run course starts and finishes in the town of Olafsvik, a coastal town offering panoramic views of the ocean and mountains.

The course is an out and back that goes up and over the Snæfellsjökull Mountain to the town of Arnarstapi before returning back over the mountain.

Perhaps you'll see Iceland's famous inhabitants, the Icelandic ponies, out on course...

...or get ushered through the countryside by these friendly tour guides.

If you've been wanting to try your hand at an extreme triathlon, but racing in cold weather conditions simply isn't for you, last week Palaian's team announced Alohaman Extreme, which will take place on December 7, 2019 on Hawaii's Big Island.

Part of the allure for many is the offer of unencumbered courses. Alaskaman, Ísland and Alohaman all cap their entries at 250 racers! This also means you'll need to be prepared to sign up fast.