After a month of hiking in Iceland Steph and I are travelling back to Scotland via the Faroe Islands. It is only tartan army friends I have known to come here, and lo and behold Tórshavn is overrun with Northern Irish fans due to the Euro qualifiers!
By chance while reading a magazine yesterday I spotted there was a half marathon on on Vagar so with some translation help from the Tourist Information we were entered. My first road race in goodness only knows how long. And if all road races were like this I’d do more.
Having not understood the race briefing (being in Faroese) the race organiser kindly sought us out and repeated the instructions in English for us… follow the road and the blue flags, where it is not obvious there will be a marshal. Simple.
After being bused to the start we lined up with around 100 locals on the start line in Gasadalur looking up at the mountain standing between us and the finish. For a hill runner the first 3k were rather novel as we climbed 150m or so then ran 1.5k through the mountain via the road tunnel. It was actually a little scary as it was poorly lit and I couldn’t see my feet so would have tripped if there had been any potholes, which thankfully there were not.
Coming out the tunnel I settled into 5th position as the guy in 4th steadily pulled away and the pack of 3 in front opened up a more sizable gap. I was happy though enjoying the stunning views the ocean road offered of the fjord and skerries.
As we approached half way I could see one of the leaders had popped and I soon found myself in 4th place. Fuelled on by the water station underneath the canopy of the International Airport (can’t see that one happening in the UK) I started closing the gap to the guy in 3rd, but ran out of tarmac finishing 4th in 1h23m, not bad for a half marathon with 300m of ascent.
Steph was not too far behind having had a stonking run taking 6 mins off her PB – 1h57m finishing as always with a huge grin on her face.
As the weather closed in we retreated back to the school for amazing meatball soup, tea and cakes, what better way to finish a race! It was a great morning out and we were made to feel very welcome by the Faroese athletics community.