Kangia Race is an adventure race that is run in teams over three days. The race starts and ends in Ilulissat, and takes participants all over the Disko Bay area. The terrain is varied and challenging, and competitors must camp overnight in tents. There’s also a shorter Mini Kangia Race for those who fancy something a little less demanding. For more information about the next race, take a look at the official website here.
June: Aasiaat Midnight Sun Marathon
The Aasiaat Midnight Sun Marathon takes place, as the name would suggest, under the midnight sun. Aasiaat, known as the ‘land of a thousand islands’ does not have many roads to offer, meaning that the marathon route has to be lapped a few times in order to make up the full 42 km. However, this does mean that runners have plenty of time to soak in the spectacular scenery surrounding the town.
June/July: Arctic Midnight Orienteering, Ilulissat
Arctic Midnight Orienteering is a 4 day event which takes place during the period of 24 hour daylight in Ilulissat. It is organised by Ilulissat Orienteering Greenland and is usually made up of three different races: one long distance, one sprint race and one midnight race of varying distances. The terrain is challenging, but racers are rewarded by striking, open views of the ocean dotted with islands and icebergs. Find out more by visiting IOG’s website.
August: Disko Arts Festival
Disko Arts Festival is a relatively new celebration of contemporary music, theatre and performance. It takes place both in Ilulissat and in the small settlement of Oqaatsut in Disko Bay, which is reachable by boat from Ilulissat. Since Oqaatsut is only home to about 50 people, there are no accommodation options for visitors to the festival, but you are welcome to camp just outside the village, or stay in Ilulissat, which is well-equipped for tourists. Events are varied and experimental, and often feature collaborations with other international artists. Much of the festival takes place outside, in the beautiful Greenlandic summer amidst magnificent scenery. Check out the festival’s website for more information.
August: Igasa Food Festival
Greenlanders love to celebrate their culinary culture, and Igasa (meaning “Let’s cook” in Greenlandic) is one of the best ways to experience it for yourself. It takes place in South Greenland, which is the region famous for its farm produce: mainly lamb, vegetables and fish. The festival is organised by local people and focuses on Greenlandic ingredients and encouraging self-sufficiency in the region.
August: Leif Eriksson Marathon
The Leif Eriksson Marathon is named after the son of the fabled Viking, Erik the Red. Qassiarsuk, the settlement where the marathon begins and ends, is believed to be Leif Eriksson’s childhood home. The terrain is particularly difficult, meaning runners shouldn’t expect to be achieving personal best times on this run, which stretches down rough rocky tracks and over hills almost all the way to the settlement of Sillisit. The scenery is of course unbeatable, and you can also choose to run a half marathon, a 10km distance, or even walk the half marathon if you want to really absorb the views. See more details about the event here.
August/September: Qooqqut Festival
Qooqqut Festival is a weekend-long music festival that is a real getaway. It takes place in the Nuuk fjord system about an hour away from the capital, in a secluded bay that is transformed into a festival ground for the weekend using tents and marquees. Access to the festival is by boat, and accommodation is in huts, tents or even on the Sarfaq Ittuk coastal ferry, which is usually lent to the event. The festival is focused on family entertainment and is alcohol-free.
August/September: Colourful Nuuk Marathon
For those who prefer a city marathon, the Colourful Nuuk Marathon takes place towards the end of summer. Although the route is mostly on paved roads, this does not mean that the event is any easier than Greenland’s other marathons. The terrain in Nuuk is hilly and demanding, but has the advantage of giving runners a taste of both the bustling Arctic capital and the stunning nature that closely surrounds it. A variety of different distances can be run, and there is even a Mini Marathon designed especially for children that is 3.5km long. Check out the official website for more details.
September: Nuuk Food Festival
Nuuk Food Festival is relatively young, holding only its fifth year in 2018. The goal of the festival is to inspire Greenlanders to use more local produce and thereby increase the country’s self-sufficiency. Over a weekend, people gather in Nuuk’s sports hall to taste, buy and sell local products.
September/October: Nuuk Nordisk Festival
Nuuk Nordisk Festival is a celebration of collaborative culture from all over the Northern world. All sorts of contemporary art and culture, from theatre, dance and visual arts, to music and literature, are presented in more than 50 venues across Nuuk, over the space of a week. These venues can be anything from a theatre or a library to a storage facility! As well as performances and exhibitions, there are also workshops, seminars and public talks throughout the festival.
Nuuk Nordisk only happens once every other year. The next Nuuk Nordisk will be in 2019.
October: Polar Circle Marathon
The Polar Circle Marathon is unique in the sense that it is the only marathon in which you can run on Greenland’s ice cap itself. The majority of the course, however, is run on road, which is often covered in snow, due to the race taking place in late October. The nearest township is Kangerlussuaq, which comprises Greenland’s main international airport, making the marathon particularly accessible for tourists. The area around Kangerlussuaq is classified as a ‘polar desert’, due to its very low amount of rainfall and Arctic tundra climate. This means that runners are treated to impressive, open views of the vast surrounding landscape. More details can be found on the website.