London + Pre Race Iceland!

London + Pre Race Iceland!

Day before the Race – Husavik. 

Here I am sitting in my Hotel Room in Husavik typing this and enjoying my last evening of little pleasures before I spend 7 days in the Icelandic wilderness! It is only because I am about to go a week without that I even take the time to think about all the little pleasures in life.

Here I am all cosy in a warm duvet on a super comfy bed with my feet up, icing my right shin, listening to a water fountain outside my room with some fresh air blowing through the window while I sip on my Pepsi Max HAHA WOW how ridiculous do I sound! ….


Wow does time fly!! It feels like I have been away for a month already with everything that has been squeezed into the past few days but in reality it has only been just over a week. It was just last Thursday I was boarding the plane in Brisbane. 

I was so eager and ready to go! 


Laura and I caffeinating in London. 

After 2 planes and 1 underground trip I was in London on Friday at 6am, re-united with one of my best friends Laura who I hadn’t seen in over a year and a half who now living in London. I decided to brush off the flight yuck-ness with a 14km run along the Thames River and it did the trick, I felt pretty fresh!


The next 4 days were pretty relaxing. I would kick start most days with a run and then would checkout different foodie spots. Laura and I also spent 1 day in full blown tourist mode and headed into Soho to shop, watch all the live performers, had a massage and I caught up with one of my old tennis friends Jaimee who I hadn’t seen in about 8 years. I can’t tell you the last time it was that I didn’t have an alarm clock to wakeup to, a set schedule for work, training and a day planned out. 

I did unfortunately pick up pretty bad sickness in London and took with me a nasty chesty cough and full body aches to Iceland.

Once I landed in Iceland I met with Colin (videographer) in Reykjavik where we hired a car with the plan to drive the whole of the South of Iceland and stop and run/film along in some amazing locations with glaciers, waterfalls and amazing mountains with ocean backdrops. Who knew in the space of a few days we could have so many speed bumps…
A running trail that dodged around the Iceland Moss. 

Day 1 and 2 in Iceland (Vik + Hofn)… not only was the weather an absolute wipe out from the wind and rain but I was really sick, my London sickness had escalated and my throat was very sore and swollen and I had full body aches.

We had the plan to head straight to the doctors on day 3 as time is not on my side with the race being in just another 3 days.


Luckily with a handful of ginger,  lemon, honey, turmeric teas and a heap of throat lozenges and a lot of sleeping in between running I was able to kick it myself and am happy to say I am feeling great just 1 day out from the race now… aside from a gnarly cough.


Photo: Colin Clarke.

 Anyway on Day 3 after spending the night in Hofn Colin and I finally got very lucky with some good weather and had an amazing afternoon at the most spectacular glacier…. But as we thought things were looking up… we spoke too soon…


Just to rewind for a moment when we arrived in Reykjavik we hired a car, now Colin sorted this and found the best value for money was through a car company called Green Motion… unfortunately Colin was hit with ridiculous car insurance fees on top of the rental fees even though he purchased his own car insurance through another agency the people in Iceland said he HAD to buy theirs too… okay whatever he did and we moved on… we nicknamed the little yellow FIAT ‘Panda’.
The ‘Panda’ Express.
Anyway whilst packing up our gear, it was 8pm on Thursday night and we were the 2nd last people there (the sun doesn’t set until about 9:30pm)…. Well yep our worst nightmare… a flat tyre.. to be honest I wasn’t surprised with all the off road driving we had been doing but it was honestly the worst possible timing ever. I sprinted down to the last car there besides us which was literally driving off and they were the kindest Czech Republic people who I asked to wait for a moment. 

In the meantime Colin was trying to change the flat tyre with the spare… Thanks to bloody Green Motion scabby car company they had only 3 bolts of one type in the tyre and 1 different bolt… so we couldn’t even get the tyre off to change it… the plan was to drive 3 hours this evening to our next destination for the night.. well that plan was out the window! 

Colin and I got a lift with the Czech Republican couple to the nearest lodge about 6km’s from the mountain where luckily they had a spare room for the night… sadly we lost out accomodation we paid for in the next location and had to fork out for this new room… not to mention the restaurant was a one meal only type place and was $75 for dinner haha OUCH! In the mad rush Colin and I had left the car at the glacier with all our stuff except a backpack each so we had barely anything with us,… anyway we enjoyed the night for what it was and just made the most of it! 

Photo: Colin Clarke. 
The hotel ended up driving out to the car and changing the tyre and then Friday Colin had to hike 6km’s out to the car and drive it back to the hotel to me… he said if I didn’t hear from him in 2 hours to get worried… well at 1 hr 45 min I began getting a little worried! You are probably thinking why didn’t I just run out to the car and grab it for us… welll there is no way in the world I would drive the sketchy little manual car on the off-roads, I shut my eyes half the time Colin drove… it is safe to say that 4WD is not my thing! Aside from this I had covered about 40+km’s in the past 2/3 days and a lot of it on uneven surfaces and rocks so my lower leg muscles are really feeling it (all the little intrinsic muscles)… not very ideal tapering with a 250k race in 3 days. Thats why day 4 was a 100% rest day haha I refused to do any running (sorry Colin). I spent about an hour using my trigger ball and stretching in the morning and evening. 

Anyway we got there in the end and we did lose a full day with car issues but I know we will look back on this as a good story…. 

We got the tyre fixed… they had to replace the front 2 and we went to 3 different car places and none had a bolt that fit so continued on with just 3 bolts on one wheel which wasn’t ideal… Green Motion (Don’t Recommend…).

It was a long long day with a 6.5 hours drive from the South of Iceland to the very North! Thank-fully the views and stops along the way made it all worth it!


Night 1 in Husavik I am staying at the race hotel the Foss Hotel who are supporting me for an extra few nights. I am very excited to be staying here as it is a nice treat before the camping out in a tent begins.

Finally… onto the race! 
Husavik.

The layout for this race is slightly different to the other races. Usually it is 250km’s in 7 days/6 stages with a rest day being after the long day/double day… this time it is just 6 days straight. I think I like the idea of just banging it out and not having a rest day but I will see in a week I guess. 


This evening from 7-930pm (Saturday) is the race briefing and then nice and early Sunday we are bused about 6 hours to the start line into the middle of who knows where and the race begins Monday! I am feeling super amped for the race now and am a lot more use to the weather after spending a few days here which has been really good.

Colin and I spent today by the water here in Husavik and it was absolutely beautiful. Sometimes I am a bit of a pain to work with ‘bitchie Jacqui’ as I like to call it haha and I sook a fair bit about the videoing and taking photos of everything but today I had a kind of pinch myself moment. As I ran along the amazing coastline here in Husavik I thought how lucky I am to be doing what I am.

The support and messages from everyone over the past few days and week leading up to my 6th continent race wishing me lucky, asking me about Iceland and how I feel leading into the races is  overwhelming. It is phenomenal to have such a backing so thank you to every single person who has reached out, I always try to reply but if it slips through the gaps I can guarantee I still have read it and appreciated it 🙂

Sorry I got a little sentimental for a second there…


Back to the Race… No. 6 I am ready to crank it out!! 

This evening at 8pm was bag check, hurdle number one came a tad earlier than expected haha… I thought I would totally breeze through as I should know what I am doing by now but I guess you could say I was a bit of a hassle… 

I didn’t read that the rain/windproof pants and jacket had exact specifications… I was like 5 points off a score on the resistance of my pants… I thought it was ridiculous but I guess me digging my heels in giving some ‘friendly’ resistance/banter in resistance to this didn’t get me far…

I gave in with the pants situation and forked out $200 for a new pair which they happen to sell… so with 10 of the male volunteers/medics/race co-ordinators there I gave them a wager haha.. I couldn’t help myself… 

I said if I don’t touch these waterproof ‘SPECIALISED’ pants all week and they stay in the brand new packing at the bottom of my bag I am allowed a refund on them… They said it is going to storm like crazy mid week and you won’t survive the day without them so sure but you will 100% need them. 

Pfft I don’t think they understand how much I love a challenge… I said – On the pooring rain day they will see me run past without those pants on and smile just stoked that I will be getting that $200 back haha… 

On top of this I also had to go back to my room x2 times to grab more food to makeup more calories as I had 10,000 but they wouldn’t allow anything less than 14,000. I grabbed 3 more packs of 2 minutes noodles and my tub of peanut butter – they laughed, shook their heads a little and signed me off. 

They said it was by far the lightest and smallest pack of the group. 


Hofn.









A few massive thank-you’s are necessary otherwise I would not be here!

Mum and Dad and my Brother! 
HOLLY DAMMM I am a pain in the bum sometimes but you guys are always there for me!

Massive thanks to Jaybird for getting Colin to Iceland with me to film pre race, unfortunately the logistics are too difficult to have him follow my entire race week so it will be just me and my GoPro capturing all the melt downs (lets hope I don’t have any… that would be a dream).
To think it all started out 2 years ago with a pair of earphones and now the Jaybird team are my biggest supporters and I can’t wait to meet the Jaybird crew in Salt Lake City at the Head Office after race 7 next month! 

Naomi and Stuart.
Thank-you for your friendship and kindness. Both of you have given me so much time over the last few months and I am forever learning from you both, your support and guidance means the world to me.

Adrenaline!
Thank- you to Adrenaline for recently making me an ambassador and helping sponsor me for my Iceland and Grand Canyon Races. I couldn’t think of a brand that I possibly align with more. Thank-you for helping me live out my passion of ultra running. 

Hancock Homes
Thank-you Mark and Joel Hancock for your support I am very grateful for you generosity! 

James Hopkins
For your ongoing generosity over the past 2 years, I can’t thank you enough for you donations and sponsorship! No words!

White Cloud Foundation

Last but not least thank you to everyone who has donated over the past 2 years.
Last year I reached $17,000 just shy of my $20,000 target – this year I started a new fundraising page to help raised the final $3000 for the White Cloud.
I am stoked to say that over $20,500 has been raised, THANK YOU!!

Now its all on me to go and finish off my own personal goal of running these final 2 desert races!


If you would like to make any further donations here is the link to this years charity page. 



How to follow my race. 
My friend will pop up 1/2 updates on my Instagram throughout the week to let you know how I am going but unlike my races last year when I had the chance to write daily blogs that isn’t available at these next two races.

Jump onto my instagram to view updates which my friend will post, or I will share my results when I am connected again next week.

Jacquiabell 

I will be offline for the next 7 days (WOOHOOO) so will see ya on the other side of the race. 


Thanks so much,



JB xx


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