Hardangervidda Marathon is often refered to as «the most beautiful marathon in Norway». A description that might be spot on as it moves trough truly scenic nature.
Hardangervidda Nationalpark is the arena. Eidfjord is the venue and the highlighst keep coming one after another.
A race within a race
First you have the easy part into the Sima Valley. The 9km stretch on asphalt is just a warm up for what is coming. You run next to the fjord, move past old farms and just enjoy the scenery. When you reach the end of the valley that`s when the going get`s tough.
You start at sea level and climb up to 1.300m within a few kilometers. This part is often called a race within a race. You have to use your hands as much as your feet. Climbing, grinding, keep going. Up. Up. Up.
When you finally reach the top the terrain flattens out and you almost forget that you are just beginning the race. On a good day the view is spectacular. In front of you is the Hardangerjoekulen glacier, behind you is the crystal blue water of Hardangerfjorden that you just came from.
You move over the plateau, cross a few rivers and just try to keep a steady pace trough the terrain. Your mind is clear, the air is fresh and you almost forget those burning legs after the climb you just been trough.
About halfway you get to Voeringfossen – a 182m waterfall that is a landmark in Norway. You run just centimeters from the drop , but don`t enjoy the view too much or you might slip on the rocky trail.
You cross the main road and start climbing again. This is where you really get to test what you are built of. There are marshlands after marshlands. It`s wet, slippery and for each step you feel that you are only sinking deeper. Runners have been known to get stuck here and need to wait for the next runner to come by and help them out. The marshlands show no mercy.
Finally you reach the top of the mythical Hjoelmo Vally. With it`s steep drop and many waterfalls it is a place that is more often visited in winter time than summer. Why? Becasue of the Ice Climbing of course! The waterfalls here are a hidden gem and are frozen up most of the winter.
The road slowly takes you down, one hairpin turn after another. You try to focus on everything else than your burning calfs – just a few kilometers left. One step at a time. Down.
And at the bottom the finishline awaits you with the best stew ever – made from local shot reindeer and vegtables. Your final thought before you hit the shower – I can`t wait to do it again!