Author:Katrín Anna Lund (University of Iceland)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores how runners in the 2007 Laugavegur ultra marathon in Icleand experienced the 'natural' scenery promoted and marketed by the organisers of the marathon and the travel board through the bodily activity of running.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the bodily and sensational relationship between runners and the landscape they run through in the Laugavegur ultra marathon in Iceland. The event is a sporting event that has taken place in July every year since 1997. Laugavegur is a well known 55 km long hiking route in the south of Iceland. The event of Laugavegur ultra marathon has become more popular every year with an increasing number of foreign visitors taking part and is now being promoted as one of a life time event for runners from all over the world to partake in. What is emphasized is the stunning unspoild landscape of wilderness that the participants run through which offers not only a magnificent scenery but also the challenge of running through a constantly changing nature, or as the slogan says: 'The extreme challenge in a magnificent environment'. This holds in hand with the way in which the Icelandic Travel Board is promoting Iceland as a place to visit, as a place of untouched wilderness, displaying magnificent contrasts in a landscape of mountains, glaciers and thermal springs. Thus the venue has been created, packed and marketed as a remote natural setting at the edge of the world, as something detached from the urban everyday lives of the participants, which nevertheless can be explored through the bodily challenge of running through it. This paper looks at how the runners experience the landscape whilst running through it and how it matches the image the Travel Board promotes.
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