Step 24: Keep your country tidy

Reykjavík is not a big city, but there are still are a few spots here and there visitors don’t know about – and sometimes not the locals either.

For step 24 of Reykjavík Runs Us we asked the Reykjavik Street Theatre to do something fun in one of these places, a “secret beach” in Skarfagarður, in the northern part of the city. We talked to the director, Hlynur Páll Pálsson about it. 

Hi Hlynur – so, what is the Reykjavík Street Theater?

Reykjavík Street Theater has been around for almost twenty years now, making the streets of Reykjavík a stage for two months every summer. 

How is street theater different from regular theater?

Street theater is not necessarily something that you watch from beginning to an end. It’s basically a happening, meant to catch the ears and eyes of the people on the streets to make their day a bit more interesting, a bit more fun. 

Who gets to be in it?

Each year around two hundred people, ages 17-25, apply to be a part of it. Back when I was performing with the group we used to be around 35, but due to budget cuts there are only nine performers now. Fewer performers but probably greater visibility because of all the people taking pictures of our shows and sharing them on the internet.

Where do you perform?

We do big and small performances in and around downtown Reykjavík at least two to three times a week and each show is different and unique.

What can you tell us about the location?

The cliff in is called Skarfaklettur, which could be translated as Shag Rock (“shag” being a type of sea bird in this case). A few years back it was in the middle of the ocean, but now, with landfills, it’s a part of the mainland. It’s an interesting place because it’s not very Icelandic – beaches in Iceland usually have only black sand. It’s a beautiful place in Reykjavík that few people know about. We hope the runners will take their time to stop at Skarfaklettur and catch their breaths while enjoying the view.

What was the idea behind the clip?

We wanted to use costumes made from stuff that usually gets thrown away. Skarfaklettur has now been absorbed into the mainland with landfills and the basic material for landfills always used to be junk and garbage, the result of human consumption.

Reykjavík Runs Us, Step 24: The Secret Beach Theater

Step 23: More than just the Reykjavík Marathon

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The 30th Reykjavík Marathon isn’t the only thing taking place in the city on 24 August 2013. Every year, the marathon only marks the beginning of Reykjavík Culture Night, a one-day festival with concerts, performances and fireworks, usually attended by about 100,000 people.

Among the events taking place will be performances and exhibitions by the city’s Creative Summer Groups, an art project for young people funded by the city of Reykjavík. For step 23 of Reykjavík Runs Us we asked one of these groups, Slagverk, to go to Öskjuhlíð and do their thing.

So, what is Slagverk and who are you guys?

Slagverk consists of the two of us, drummer Ægir Sindri Bjarnasson and art student Fritz Hendrik IV. Our idea was to make pieces combining both visual art and percussion. As a part of the Creative Summer Groups project we work from 9 to 5, five days a week for 8 weeks, preparing and performing our performance pieces.

How did you meet?

We met when we were both in primary school attending punk rock and metal shows in downtown Reykjavík. In 2008 we formed Logn, a Blackmetal/Hardcore band which is still active to this day. We have stayed friends since then and we have been playing and organising shows together for the past five years.

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What do you do when you’re not drumming all over the place?

Watch movies, listen to music, read books, hang out.

What was the idea behind the Reykjavík Runs Us video you did in Öskjuhlíð?

Fritz wanted to dance and Öskjuhlíð had not been used on the Reykjavík Runs map so of course we dressed up as yellow wood demons and held a drum rave party up in this thang.

Have you ever run in the Reykjavík Marathon?

No, neither of us has run the marathon. Maybe next year!

If you’ve finished your run by three in the afternoon on 24 August you can catch Slagverk doing a drum circle at Hitt Húsið in Pósthússtræti, as a part of Reykjavík Culture Night.

Reykjavík Runs Us, Step 23: Slagverk in Öskjuhlíð

Check out this video that our friends at Powerade filmed during marathon last Saturday. Powerade co-sponsors the Íslandsbanki Reykjavík Marathon and they make sure runners stay hydrated, providing more than 10,000 litres of Powerade at nine water stations.

Did you run this year? Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of yourself in this clip. Thinking about running next year? See what to expect.

For Step 18 of Reykjavík Runs Us, Icelandic electronic musician Ruxpin created a playlist for marathon runners. The whole thing takes 2 hours, 3 minutes and 9 seconds to listen to. That’s 29 seconds less than the current marathon world record. 

The handsome animated runner on the step was hand-made for you by Rán Flygenring, former official illustrator of Reykjavík, who also did the animations of Keilir in Step 4 and Harpa in Step 11.  

In this video, filmed by Alísa on Wednesday 11 July, we follow Ruxpin as he hunts for sounds in Elliðaárdalur, one of the places you’ll be running through on your way to finish the Reykjavík Marathon. 

Full track listing of “2h3m” · Icelandic Electronic Music Blog
Ruxpin on Twitter · Ruxpin on Soundcloud · Ruxpin on Facebook 

Reykjavik Runs Us, Step 18: 2 hours and 3 minutes

About 140 charities and countless people benefit directly from pledges made by runners in the Reykjavík Marathon. In this short interview, Guðný Helga Herbertsdóttir from Íslandsbanki talks about the importance of the marathon for local charities.

Reykjavík Runs Us, Step 15: All hands on deck

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Step 16: Laugardalslaug

For Step 16 of Reykjavík Runs Us, Wies Hermans made an important public service game to highlight an unusual feature of Reykjavík swimming pools.

So Wies, why did you decide to make a game about the importance of public swimming pool hygiene? Are you a clean freak?

Taking a shower in Iceland is always an adventure. First there’s the weird smell that comes with the hot water. Visiting a public swimming pool means having to strip naked and wash yourself thorougly. Luckily all the pools have signs to help you spot the most dirty places. And then there’s the free soap of course. All the ingredients are there for a fun and educational web game. And yes, I do take my daily showers at home.

You lived in Iceland for 2 years. Did you visit the swimming pools a lot?

I love the swimming pools in Iceland. I went swimming much more often than back at home. Especially in winter, when it’s freezing cold and snowing. The walk from the locker room to the pool is painful, but short. I forced myself to swim at least one kilometer before relaxing in the hot tubs. Starting at 38°C, taking it a step further to 42°C and spending the last 10 seconds in the 44°C tub.

Do you have a favourite swimming pool?

The one in Stykkishólmur is lovely. I have some good hygiene-related memories of that.

You live in Berlin now. What’s the biggest difference between Reykjavík and Berlin?

When I’m in Berlin I miss the Icelandic air, the ocean, the people, the language, the skyr. When I’m in Reykjavik I don’t miss Berlin. But I make sure I don’t go to Iceland in winter when the days are short and people celebrate Christmas from November till March.

Reykjavik Runs Us, Step 16: Every guest is required to wash thoroughly