Fire and Ice Ultramarathon - six days and
250 kilometres in wild Iceland nature

On August 28, Joel Juht started one of the world’s toughest ultramarathons, Fire and Ice, in Iceland, where he had to run or walk 250 kilometers in only six days. Which were the competition days like?

First of all, before the competition, it was necessary to adapt to the climate and pass the equipment check. Among nearly 30 participants, Joel was the only Estonian who started the ultramarathon.

The start took place in the Central Iceland region, but a lot happened on the way there. The bus with competitors had two flat tires as the terrain in Iceland is very unpredictable and densely covered with volcanic ash and very sharp rocks.

Sleepless with anticipation, Joel was up at the crack of dawn on the morning of the start day and the race started at 9:00 a.m (Iceland time). Joel went ahead of the others in the first seconds and maintained the leading position throughout the first day, crossing the finish line first after 36.6 kilometers. After the first day, he felt that the terrain was very challenging – sharp rocks, volcanic ash and uneven ground make the trail difficult.

More difficult trail with each day

The second day of the race envisaged a distance of 42.6 kilometers on the land area under Iceland’s nature protection, but at the end of the first day it became clear that more had to be covered – 46.3 kilometers instead. It came as a surprise to the participants, because all the preparations for the competition had been made according to the original plan and food supplies had been calculated exactly.

Joel finished the day in second place, but still held first place in the overall standings. Every day the track became more difficult. The first two days of the race were at 700 meters above sea level, meaning Joel had to pay extra attention to keeping his heart rate low. However, even after the third day of the competition, he was able to keep the first place and successfully complete 42.8 kilometers.

The fourth day of the marathon included the longest distance (72 km) and Joel managed to win it as well.

“Emotions are so high, I can’t believe it… I ran the course in less than 10 hours!” an euphoric Joel announced to his followers on Instagram that day. In the long distance, he was able to beat the next runner by more than 20 minutes and was more than an hour ahead of the others in the overall race.

Stormy night and no sleep

After a long day, the first problem with his feet awaited him, because he had tied his running shoes too tightly for a long distance and did not take into account that his feet would swell. Joel was undeterred and simply took a few painkillers and started the fifth day of the marathon as the leader.

The fifth day of the marathon, another 42-kilometer distance, passed without unusual events for Joel. The weather was beautiful, my leg didn’t show too much, and so luckily I was the first to finish the race again. But Friday night was a good test – a storm was raging in Iceland, the wind was blowing nearly 50 m/s, and the roof of Joel’s tent fell in during the night, so we had to start repairing it, and we didn’t manage to sleep much. Fortunately, nothing went wrong, and on Saturday it was only necessary to do a short distance (19 km) to win the Fire and Ice ultramarathon – as the first Estonian!


Stay tuned, because in the next post, you can read more detailed thoughts and analysis of the entire competition.

More updates about the competition on the main sponsor, FENIX ADVENTURE BLOG.

More news you can find from POSTIMEES, DELFI, RUS DELFI and ÕHTU! TV show.