The Súlur Vertical trail-running event will take place on mountain slopes outside of Akureyri, North Iceland this weekend. RÚV reports that organizers and volunteers have been hard at work preparing the trails, even manually shovelling snow on the uppermost slopes of Mt. Hlíðarfjall in order to carve out a running path for the longest race.
This is the seventh time Súlur Vertical has been held and participation is higher than ever been before, with 556 people registered to take part in three races of increasing distances: 18 km [11 mi], 28 km [17 mi], and 55 km [34 mi]. The longest race includes a section on Mt. Hlíðarfjall and a 3000-m [1.86-mi] elevation gain (earning 3 points with the International Trail Running Association).
“This section has been impassable due to snow since the winter,” read a Facebook post about the organizers’ trail-clearing efforts on Tuesday. “But many hands, shovels, ( and chainsaws!) made for light work and [this stretch] shouldn’t be much of an obstacle this weekend.” Súlur Vertical director Þorbergur Ingi Jónsson later clarified that the chainsaws were used to break through hard-packed ice along the trail and said the whole process took only a few hours. “When you have such a powerful group, projects like this one are no problem.”
“This also opens one of the most popular mountain trails around Akureyri to the general public and we welcome that,” he wrote in Tuesday’s post, “as one of the goals of the Súlur Vertical organization is to promote outdoor activity and physical activity in the area.”
The weather forecast isn’t looking promising for the coming weekend, and there’s even the possibility of snow in the mountains. But Þorbergur isn’t discouraged. “We’ll just make the best of the conditions and we’ve got plenty of hot cocoa and things like that.”
Learn more about Súlur Vertical (in English) here.