Kjölur Run & Athletes for Climate Resilience

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Supporting Education, Scholarships, and Outreach To Help Build Climate Resilience

Help build climate resilience in the outdoor athlete and adventure community

Thanks so much for taking the time to find out more about Kjölur Run and Athletes for Climate Resilience. This campaign seeks funding to support two main initiatives:

  1. To support a 275 km, 3-day solo run across Iceland from the Atlantic to the Arctic in June 2105 to leverage media attention on the role that athletes and adventurers play in building climate resilience.
  2. To fund scholarships for students to study the relationship between outdoor recreation / athletics and climate change. The project aims to fund two separate scholarships for students at colleges in the U.S. and in Iceland.

Climate change impacts all of us-from changing rain patterns to shorter winters, longer droughts, melting glaciers, and rising sea levels-and athletes have a unique relationship to the outdoors and connection to the changing climate through our choices of where to travel, what equipment to use, where to spend the night, and so on. In so many ways, we depend upon a continuing and resilient relationship with the larger environment of which we are a part.

It is in the best interest of the planet and of our own goals as an outdoor community to invest in building climate resilience. The future of our ability to adapt to and engage with climate change and our hope to build climate resilience is in education, and my hope is that we can make real change by funding scholarships for students to focus on these important issues.

How You Can Help

This project depends on your help. The goal is to raise a total of at least $25,000 in order to fund (1) the logistics and support associated with running across Iceland next June and (2) enough for two substantial scholarships to support the study of climate resilience through programs at Vermont’s Sterling College and theUniversity Centre of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


As a flexibly-funded campaign, any money raised will be allocated to the mission of this project. The more that is raised, the greater the available funding for student research, networking, and educational opportunity. 

Since outreach and media attention are key to the success of this campaign, the perks will help supporters spread the word about Kjölur Run and Climate Resilience. Check out the perks on the right-they include sustainably sourced lifestyle and technical t-shirtseco-friendly stickers, and rewards from project friends and supporters, including Petzl and PocketFuel, as well as photos from the run in Iceland, and an invitation to follow along with exclusive access to training and nutrition info throughout the winter and spring.

A veteran of twenty years of racing and mountain running projects from 5k to 50 miles, I’m not only an avid outdoor athlete, as a faculty member and athletic director at Vermont’s Sterling College, I founded the U.S.’s first collegiate Mountain, Trail, Ultra Running Team. I have also been personally involved in issues of sustainability, outdoor education, athletics, and climate change for nearly two decades at schools across the Northeast.

The Route

The 275 km (170 mile)route starts southeast of Reykjavik along the Atlantic coast and follows a route past Gullfoss and Geyser into the Kjölur Plateau. After traversing this highland region, the route descends to the north coast to the town of Blönduós along the Greenland Sea (see the Map My Run route here).

 I have been steadily ramping up my training regimen to train specifically for a multi-day run. I will also be working alongside students and faculty at Sterling researching the latest sports nutrition and endurance training. I’m really pretty stoked!


There is an inherent risk to any outdoor endeavor, and this one is certainly no different. The route may need to change because of weather conditionssnowpack, or volcanic activity (this is Iceland, after all!); I may become injured in training or during the run itself; or virtually anything else could happen.

Honestly, risk and uncertainty is one of the reasons that I chose to put myself out there and run across Iceland. If by even attempting this run, I motivate others to think about similar adventures and/or to think about their actions in the outdoors with regard to the climate, then I think I’ve done something worthwhile.

In the unlikely event that I won’t be able to complete the run itself, however, all of the money raised will go to the scholarship funds. 

Even if you’re unable to donate right now, please help spread the word about this campaign, about the Kjölur Run, and about climate resilience.

Thank you!


For more information on this project, click here.

If you would like to promote your initiative with us, contact kevbalance[at]levelrenner[dot]com.

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