A NEVER-DONE-BEFORE MULTI-SPORT CROSSING FROM NORTH TO SOUTH ACROSS THE FULL GAMBIT OF ICELAND’S MAGICAL AND SURREAL INTERIOR.
This is a World of fire and ice that you will never forget: A tough, satisfying and utterly unique adventure fit for the most hardy of souls.
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*price per month, depending on departure date, click here for more info on pricing
5 - 12 AUGUST / 2023
13 - 20 AUGUST / 2023
10 - 17 AUGUST / 2024
9 - 16 AUGUST / 2025
30 MILES (48 KM) ON FOOT + 201 MILES (324KM) ON BIKE + 25 MILES (40 KM) PACKRAFT
HOTEL, CABINS, HOSTEL AND CAMPING
8 DAYS /
DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?
A good level of fitness is recommended with competency in off-road riding.
6 nights accommodation / hotel, cabin, hostel and camping
All meals included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew
Transfers from Reykjavik
Flexible transfer policy.
GUIDES AND SUPPORT
Professional 4x4 support vehicles, mountain guides, safety staff, medical, mechanical and welfare.
Includes pack raft and associated equipment rental.
High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.
Professional local and UK safety staff, bike mechanic, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.
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This trip is never-done-before territory. It is an extremely audacious multi-sport crossing of the entirety of Iceland, starting in the far north and traversing right through the centre of the country, until reaching the south coast. Our sensational route passes between and beside numerous massive icecaps and dramatic mountains, all the while following the famous gravel roads, tracks and trails that thread through this land’s vast ash and lava fields.
Rivers are abundant here and numerous crossings will take place during the week, on bike, on foot or by boat. Significantly, the route must also encompass Iceland’s longest and largest river, the Pjorsa. Cycling can be challenging, due to constantly changing weather, harsh gradients and mixed trail surfaces, though the occasional sections of mountainous single-track are absolutely and utterly World-class. The trekking is breath-taking, with our section taking in some of the famous Laugavegur Trail. On the River Pjorsa, rafting will also provide for some extremely exciting mileage.
It is the totally unique Icelandic surroundings that make the most lasting impression of this journey. Once you leave the coast, the interior is almost devoid of any habitation whatsoever – making this trip beyond remote. The scenery is always dramatic: Glaciated and volcanic backdrops, icecaps, rivers, massive waterfalls, lakes, lava fields, rhyolite multi-coloured mountains, geothermal vents and pools and in places, even snow.
The final trek is the high-altitude crowning moment of our adventure: The Laugavegur trail is a long-distance mountain path that is consistently rated amongst the top 10 hikes on Earth.
We will take to its finest trail segment, ascending between high hanging glacial snouts and beneath the now-infamous volcano that erupted in 2010: Eyjafjallajokull. Once over the stunning mountain pass, the descent looks towards the see and passes by numerous waterfalls until reaching the most famous of them all: Skogafoss.
Our route then takes us onwards towards the coast, finishing at a distinctive plane wreck on the ash sands, right next to the crashing waves of the Atlantic. For those who want to reward yourselves with a little pampering after a job well done, The Blue Lagoon is then calling for a visit, to ease those weary muscles that have just crossed this most magnificent, rugged and insanely unique country, from coast to coast.
Our trip features an extremely high level of support, allowing you to enjoy a fully inclusive package including meals, accommodation, Pit Stop support en route, plus mechanical assistance on the bike legs and all-encompassing rafting kit on the river, too. We have made getting there easy, featuring a full package of logistics from Reykjavik, Iceland’s diminutive capital city.
DAY ONE: TRAVEL DAY
13th August 2023 / 10th August 2024
We will meet early in downtown Reykjavik for our onward travel to Blondous on the north coast. You will no doubt want to fly in the day before, or perhaps spend a couple of days exploring some of the highlights of Reykjavik and Iceland’s superlative tourist sights. There is an abundance of flights to get to Iceland from all of the World, so finding a flight and a hotel the night before our RV should not be a worry.
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD: Blondous hotel. Dinner provided. There will be the opportunity to stop en route to shop for snacks or to purchase a meal at a roadside eatery.
DAY TWO: ADMIN DAY
14th August 2023 / 11th August 2024
After breakfast we will spend the morning on registration admin and will hand out the navigation tech and explain its use. Following this there will be plenty of time for everybody to prep their bikes. We will have a trial run route and cycle route so you can practice with the tech and give your bike a shakedown ride to make sure everything is spot on ready to start the event tomorrow. Once all this is done, the time is yours to relax, chill, kit-faff and explore as you please.
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD: Blondous hotel. Breakfast and dinner provided.
DAY THREE: ICELAND COAST TO COAST BEGINS
15th August 2023 / 12th August 2024
After a hearty breakfast and an early start at a lava beach at Blonduos, we will cycle inland beside the glacial river Blanda on good roads and good gravel tracks. Once we leave the coastal area, we leave the tarmac behind for good! We will climb gradually until the scenery gives way to classic Icelandic ash terrain. This is a big day out on the mileage on this terrain, but it will form a very good intro to Icelandic riding and to the very unique weather conditions.
Distance: 120km (75 miles)
Ascent: 1100m (3,608ft). Highest elevation is our destination at 650m
Duration for average rider: Approx 12 hours in the saddle
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD: Hut or camping. Breakfast, Dinner provided. Pit Stop support will consist of vehicle-based snack-and-go options throughout the bike leg. See below for the spec on Pit Stop support.
DAY FOUR: ANOTHER BIG DAY ON THE BIKES
16th August 2023 / 13th August 2024
We have another day on the bikes today, passing between the two icecaps of Hofsjokull and Langjokull and heading towards the Kerlingarfjoll Highland mountains, using gravel roads and tracks. We finally reach our overnight location before reaching the River Pjorsa and RV with our rafting guides, where we will prepare to take on the river the next day.
Distance: 80km (50 miles)
Ascent: 600m (1,968ft). Highest elevation is a lava plateau at 900m.
Duration for average rider: Approx 11 hours including diversion to geothermal campground
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD: We will stay in a basic but cosy hut. There is also an adjacent visitor attraction due to geothermal activity. Breakfast, Dinner provided. Pit Stop support will consist of vehicle-based snack-and-go options throughout the bike leg. See below for the spec on Pit Stop support.
DAY FIVE: RAFTING THE PJORSA
17th August 2023 / 14th August 2024
Our Plan A will be to raft the River Pjorsa, so we will cycle onwards to meet our with our rafting guides, and prepare to take on the river. We will descend the river for approx. 40km (25 miles) max, including portages around waterfalls. Shortly before the river crashes over the dramatic Dynkur Foss waterfall, we will exit the rafts and then transition back to the bikes. We’ll cycle gravel tracks for approx. 24km (15 miles) over hill plateau scenery, passing through aly created realm of new reservoirs and dams to reach the Highland Centre at Hrauneyjar. This is a smart ‘Hotel-style’ accommodation complex.
Distance: 40km (25 miles) raft, 24km (15 miles) bikes.
Ascent: 300m (984ft). Highest elevation is the desert plateau at 650m.
Duration: 10 hours
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD: Highland Centre hotel-style a/c. Breakfast, Dinner provided. Pit Stop support will consist of vehicle-based snack-and-go options throughout the bike leg and will consist of similar provision at designated shore-based stops on the rafting leg. See below for the spec on Pit Stop support.
DAY SIX: OFF THE ASH AND INTO THE MOUNTAINS
18th August 2023 / 15th August 2024
After a full sit-down brekky from our comfortable lodgings at the Highland Centre, we are on the bikes for some flat (followed by rough and steep!) gravel tracks (including summiting a 1000m hill). There is also some great singletracks to contend with and you will probably find today is the highlight of the biking thus far. After some 80km (50 miles) of riding, we come to the Alftavatn Camp/Hut. We’re now on the World-famous Laugavegur Trail, where we cycle its singletrack to the Botnar Camp/Hut. This is a further 20km distance (12 miles). Stage end sees us say bye bye to the bikes (almost) at this point, as tomorrow is all about the foot stage.
Distance: 100km (62 miles)
Ascent: 1500m (4,921ft). Highest elevation is a summit at 1000m.
Duration for average rider: 13 hours
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD: Hut or camping. Breakfast, Dinner provided. Pit Stop support will consist of vehicle-based snack-and-go options throughout the stage. See below for the spec on Pit Stop support.
DAY SEVEN: THE MOST INCREDIBLE TREKKING DAY YOU MAY EVER EXPERIENCE
19th August 2023 / 16th August 2024
This is a big foot day but one you will never ever forget. Prepare to have your mind blown by the terrain and by the scenery unfolding all around you. With lightweight packs the first bit of the trail can generally be run (it is mostly descending and undulating). But it’s up to you – chose to run or trek. We pass near a Camp/Hut in the upper Porsmork area after 20km (12 miles) and enjoy some of the finest scenery in all of Iceland. Porsmork really is like being in the Lord of the Rings. We now trek up and out of Porsmork and ascend steeply between incredible glacier snouts to summit a mountain pass, before descending steeply to the stunning Skogafoss waterfall (25km, 16 miles) and journey’s end at the nearby hotel.
Distance: 48km on foot. 30 miles total
Ascent: 1500m (4,921ft). Highest elevation is the mountain pass out of Porsmork at 1000m.
Duration: 12 hours
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD: Hotel. Breakfast, Celebration Dinner provided. Pit Stop support will consist of some snack options carried in by our mountain team on the stage; but today is a largely self-sufficient day on the trek.
DAY EIGHT: BREAKFAST AND DEPART
20th August 2023 / 17th August 2024
After a final breakfast with possibly some sore heads, we will tackle the final leg of the journey. It’s a very flat 8 miles by bike firstly on a main road and then on a sandy trail to reach the famous plane wreck on the black volcanic beach, which marks our Journey’s End back at the sea. After some high fives, we will ride the 3km back to the support vehicles for our onward transport to Reykjavik. We will convene back at the city first, for folk to collect their bike boxes and other gear you may have stored prior to the start of the trip. We then have an option for those who wish, to return to Keflavik airport. Or simply remain in Reykjavik and see some more of this outstanding country – perhaps including a rejuvenating dip into the World-famous Blue Lagoon.
TOTAL DISTANCE: 425KM (264 MILES) / TOTAL ASCENT: 5000M (16,402FT)
Our accommodation features a small hotel set-up in Blondous and then at the end of the journey near Skogafoss. We utilise a network of some basic and some more comfortable huts while on the route, plus the option for camping on one or two nights. In all locations, your accommodation is inclusive within your entry fee. We do have options for significant others to join you at the overnights although this does require some forward planning owing to the nature of the support vehicles we are using and the inaccessibility of some of the terrain.
Where we use hotels, all accommodation is always offered on a double or twin room basis. Tents will be 2 person tents if/ where used. If you are taking part on your own, you will be paired with another participant of the same sex in a twin room. If you have preferences for who you share with, you are able to specify that prior to departure. When utilising huts, this will be communal dorm-based accommodation where you will be allocated a bed in a mixed dorn or communal room.
All of our accommodation is of a good standard – sometimes basic but always practical for the journey-at-hand. It has all been tried and tested by us on our recce trips.
Brekky will vary with our location day-to-day. When we are stating early (which comes part and parcel of such an epic journey!) then we may provide ‘grab n’ go’ materials – pastries, fruit, porridge pots, yoghurts and other simple items that you can either eat before the off, or take with you on the initial portion of the route that day. But we will also have some hearty sit-down affairs. Sometimes there will be cooked breakfast options, plus continental offerings in line with the accommodation’s standard menu; and the preparation of simple breakfasts made by our guides in the huts.
We will typically eat at the accommodation we are staying in when in hotels. On the hut and camping nights, our crew will prepare a hearty meal. Tea, coffee and water will typically be available throughout these meals. At all times in restaurants or hotel, Rat Race will provide a minimum of a hearty main course or a set menu; if you wish to augment with other selections in the restaurants, you may do so. You will settle the bar bill for your own soft drinks and alcohol. Some of the huts will have pay-bars available operated by the hut staff. Sometimes we will use our own honesty bar system, where you can help yourselves to drinks and mark down what you have had for settling at the end via credit card – so no cash is required for such puchases.
During the challenge you will have access to our famously well-stocked Pit Stops multiple times throughout the journey. On the bike stages, these will typically be set-up around our vehicles at set spots. On the trek, you will carry your own supplies and we will augment with our mountain staff carrying in treats and fluids to specific locations. On the rafting stage, the pit stop service will be shore-based at designated spots along the route.
Pit stops will typically have a minimum of the following available:
Water – Ensure you leave with water bottles and bladders filled so you have enough to get you to the next Pit Stop.
Sports Food Bars – oat-type bars for maximum energy.
Salty snacks – such as chips and peanuts.
Savoury treats – We will feature some fresh local foods and other goodies at selected pit stops, around lunchtime.
A fruit option – such as oranges, bananas, melon and watermelon.
Sweets – including local speciality sweet treats.
Our Pit Stops are there to help supplement any personal sports nutrition plan you may have. If you have any special dietary requirements then please plan for this and pack your kit accordingly. Rat Race aim to offer Pit Stop snacks that are tasty and functional for as broad a mix of needs as possible. We have options available that are suitable for vegetarian and vegans and availability of this will depend on demand. If peanuts are served these will be in individual portioned bags to reduce the chance of contamination but Rat Race cannot guarantee that the food does not contain contamination from allergens such as nuts or gluten in its preparation or serving.
Please make sure you sanitise your hands prior to eating any food. Please, please, please take care with your trash and help us in our aim of leaving these incredible islands tidier than we find them. This is even more critical in this environment, with any lost trash instantly becoming a choking hazard for the marine life we are here to admire.
The date-range is set and the route is tried and tested. However, our challenges unfold in some of the most spectacular places on Earth. Sometimes we do have to change plans on account of weather or other unforeseen factors. If we do have to do so, you will be informed and usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end! That having been said, our route is likely to remain largely intact, regardless of any on-the-ground changes.
Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.
Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.
Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.
The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.
Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.
Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.
We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.
Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.
To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.
To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry.
Yes. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you back to the closest city for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights, we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last-minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.
Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent.
Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.
If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.
Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard. We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.
Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your tshirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.
The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is very difficult for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis. All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers! You are welcome to arrange your own accommodation if you wish but this will not result in a reduction in the event fee from us, you will also then be responsible for ensuring you are at our meeting points at the arranged time and we will not be able to transport you to and from your own accommodation, you will need to be able to do this independently.
A mountain bike. We can offer bike hire subject to availability*, which can be purchased here. Please note, we cannot guarantee hire as in country bike here is very limited. We recommend securing your bike hire nice and early at the time of booking. If you cannot rent through us and are UK based, we can recommend using British Bike Hire and transporting their bike overseas.
You will build your bike at registration in Blondous. Please do not build you bike in Reykjavik ahead of meeting. We will then transport your bike in your bike box/ bag via coach from Reykjavik.