Mt. Esja Marathon

The Mt. Esja marathon, a 45 km race with a total elevation gain of 3500 m,  is the only true mountain and sky-marathon in Iceland.  

The course takes you several different routes up and around the mountain, varying in terms of difficulty with breathtaking views of the surrounding areas.

This is a very demanding and technical course for experienced trail and ultra runners.

Distance: 45km

Vertical gain and loss: 3500m

Time limit:  Cut off time for the last ascent is 4 pm. 

Registration fee: 9900 ISK

The race gives 3 ITRA / UTMB points

Maximum number of runners: 100

The race will start on the 20th of June at 8:00 am

Start location: Esjustofa

Please pick-up your bib number at the  66°North Flagship Store (Faxafen 12, 108 Reykjavik) from 12:00-18:00 on the 19th of June.  

The course is marked but runners are encouraged to download the GPX file and upload to a GPS watch or device. 


1. climb and descent: ESJUSTOFA-KERHÓLAKAMBUR

8,5 km 816m

From the starting line, you head west on a gravel road parallel to the highway. You turn right on a trail towards „Esjuberg“. There you run to a canyon on the east side of the mountain where you start the climb. The first part of the climb is steep and rocky and and large quantities of snow are always present on the upper slopes. When you reach the top (Kerholakambur) you will see the checkpoint.  You follow the same path on the way down except for the last part, where you turn to the right towards a cliff in direction of the sea. Go slowly and take care as the last 100m of the descent through the cliffs are very steep and technical.


11,3 km 816m

After the descent you go back into the canyon but continue through the valley „Gljufurdalur“. Be careful when you go over the rocky ridge and don‘t forget to enjoy the scenery. The path continues upstream until you reach the second checkpoint "the Rock or  „Steinn“. From Steinn you climb all the way to the top of „Þverferllshorn“ where the third checkpoint is located. You follow the same path to Steinn (Checkpoint), but after that you turn left and follow a gravel road to the east (No. 2 on the map) all the way down to Esjustofa (Aid Station).

3. climb and descent: GRAVEL ROAD TO THE STONE

9,9km 632km

After the stop at the aid station at Esjustofa you follow the same path all the way up to  "Steinn" (4th checkpoint). Then you go straight back down to Esjustofa via the south route.

4. climb and descent: FOREST TRAIL TO THE STONE

7km 632m

On the fourth climb to the Steinn (checkpoint) you go through the small forest (No 4 on the map) until you reach the same gravel path as on the second downhill and third climb. You follow that path all the way to Steinn "The Rock" before descending back the south path to Esjustofa.


7km 600m

The last climb is the classic route (straight up) up to Steinn "The Rock"  and then the east route down. You start by running a  700m loop near Esjustofa before heading up the last climb. The finish line will be waiting for you at Esjustofa after your last descent.

Elevation chart for Mt. Esja Marathon

Mount Esja Ultra© 2020