Tobbi never took trail or ultra-racing seriously, and for a long time even running was just a means of being fitter for football. He was raised in Neskaupsstaður, a town of just over 1,000 people in the east of Iceland some 700 km from the capital Reykjavik.
“There was no track and field training in Neskaupsstaður, there was just football, volleyball and skiing and I was only interested in football. But I was always far ahead of anyone else when we were running in school or at football practice. I always trained harder and did more than everyone else. I used to run and walk in the mountains and did a lot of weight training. I must have been a strange teenager, out running in the evenings when everyone else was out partying.”
The only running event near his hometown is the annual 27km Barðsnes trail race. This was the only race Tobbi participated in when he was younger and of course he always won, leaving followers of Icelandic running results wondering who that guy was – someone who never took part in other races but always won the Barðsnes trail race ahead of well-known runners.
Tobbi also played almost 100 games for the local football team and had big ambitions.
“In 2004 I moved to Reykjavik and started running with a track and field club there while still playing football. I soon realized that running was where my talent lay but it was very hard to give up football. That last year I was captain of the team, but I never trained, I just showed up for the matches.”
“I could not walk, I couldn´t even dream of finishing the race.”
-Thorbergur Ingi Jonson
The Laugavegur Ultra Marathon is a 55km trail race in the highlands of Iceland. The trail has often been named as one of the world‘s best hikes by the National Geographic Magazine and others. A few years ago nobody imagined it was possible to run that course in less than 4 hours but this summer Tobbi smashed his own course record by 8 minutes to finish in 3:59:13.
“The race was only supposed to be a good training exercise. Conditions were far from perfect due to heavy snow but the weather was great. I was a bit surprised how good the time was because I didn’t feel like I was going that fast, but I felt very smooth and strong.
I am doing everything so much better than before, all these little things that matter. In Laugavegur I never felt like I was working that hard until the last 10-15km. This year I was only 1 minute quicker at the last stop in Emstrur (38km) than last year so all the improvement was gained on the last leg.”