Accommodations are filling up quickly so if you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, you should do it as soon as possible. Our accommodation partners only have a few rooms available. If you want to stay near the race location, you should choose one of our partners Äkäshotelli or Ylläskaltio. If you are ready to stay a little further, you can also find good options near Ylläsjärvi, for example. It’s about a 15-minute drive away from the race location.
What is it about OCR that makes it so popular? And why would someone travel all the way to Lapland to run through ice and snow? Andreas Koch was one of the daring warriors of the first Winter Warrior Finland in April and he is traveling back next year to face the challenge again. We were curious to hear why, and asked him a few questions.
A few words about you, how would you introduce yourself?
Basically, I am a person who always tries to challenge myself. Some years ago, I changed my life radically.
I have been a smoker for 20 years, and did nearly no sports the last 5 years . I studied 5 years beside a full time job, which was challenging as well, but all sports activities were left behind. After finishing my studies, I started with sports again, quit smoking and turned into a healthy lifestyle. Now I am 38, and feel 10 years younger.
I like to do things which the mainstream does not. I like to to special things, like the OCRs and the certainly the Winter Warrior
What motivates you in OCR?
OCR keeps me focussing on a targets. I have to start training months in advance, and have to focus on in order to finish. On the one hand OCRs keep me in my health lifestyle and on the other hand I train my personal mind in focussing on targets, even when I am sometimes not motivated. In sum, it is a personalty thing for me … linked with fun and meeting new people. Finnish people have a singe word for that.. „sisu“. From its activity itself OCR is much more fun than a simple city-half-marathon.
How did you hear about Winter Warrior Finland and decided to fly to take part in the first race 2018?
I did the British Tough Guy Race for two times. On facebook I saw an announcement for the Winter Warrior .. „an OCR above the arctic circle“. This was so new… and different to the typical „mud-races“ – and I think that is the USP of Winter Warrior. Very quickly I was so excited about that … and a few days later I registered. In addition I always wanted to travel to the very north of Europe.
What was your experience like?
The best registration for a race I ever did. Excellent organization, warm-hearted people, fun… freshest air I ever breathed. I have been so impressed by the landscape. The race was tough but in the end I loved every step… „the cleanest OCR“ is an other experience
After the race I had the impression that a Winter Warrior – community has been established. Especially the events before and after the race makes it so special in comparison to other OCR events.
Last year you came alone but you are coming back next April with some friends. How did you talk them into it?
Yes I have been the first Austrian and I was proud of it for sure. I shard my experience with friend and I could convince my brother and a working colleague to join for 2019. Obviously my unfiltered experience convinced them, that they can not wait for it.
What would you say to someone who is considering to take part but a bit scared if they can do it?
I would say… just do it. Start training, get in touch with your „sisu“, and have fun with nice and open people in a breath-taking landscape. For sure, it will an experience you’ll never regret and forget …Do something special you will remember your rest of a life. Do not be scared, and think of the feeling at the moment you finish and becoming a Winter Warrior above the arctic circle.
The next Winter Warrior Finland takes place 6.4.2019. The race starts at the Kellokas Visitor Center on Saturday at 10. The nature of the race and the race course remain unchanged, but some new surprises will surely be promised.
Registration is now open. The number of participants is limited to 200. Registration fee depends on the time of registration so being quick pays off! Due to the earlier date, we recommend to book the accommodation in good time too.
The first Winter Warrior Finland was a big success. We had an absolutely thrilling race and we want to thank every participant for showing fantastic #warriorspirit throughout the race. But like in all competitions, there is always a winner.
This year the top ranks in the Warrior squad were claimed by Antti Korpi (2:09) and Suvi Rajander (2:15). With these amazing performances they won gorgeous Warrior Knifes that will have individually shaped titanium handles. They also earned free participation to the Elite squad of Toughest Finland Vörå 2018.
In the Fitness squad the first two were Janne Väisänen (2:50) and Tanja Korhonen (2:54). They received unique Finnish handicraft necklaces by Damastikoru, made out of Damascus steel, a material used in viking and samurai swords.
In the team competition the first place was taken by IPA Suomen osasto – IPA Section Finland (3:26). They received beanies and free participation to Extremerun.
We also awarded the 3rd and 4th warriors of both individual squads. In the Warrior squad, these places were claimed by Marjo Saari (2:52) and Tapio Hautala (3:10) and they received powerful headlamps. In the Fitness squad, at shared third place came Henriikka Puolitaival and Henna Tyni (3:14). They won high-quality Finnish Husky Oy beanies.
We had the pleasure to have racers from five different countries and we awarded the flag-bearers (the first of each country). The flag-bearers were: Antti Korpi (Finland), Dexter Redman McQueen (Great Britain), Regine Müller (Germany), Jacq Oak (Ireland) and Andreas Koch (Austria). They received beautiful Kuksas (traditional wooden cup) given by Mailan Putiikki.
We want to promote positive, true Warrior spirit so we gave special prizes to two incredible shows of character. We awarded Tapio Hautala and Önne Mustakallio with Kuksas hand designed by Lapinkettu, inspired by the nature and animals of Lapland.
Last but not least, we want to give recognition to the brave Challange squad ladies who voluntary went through the feared I Scream Tunnels: Sofia Palmu, Jenni Alatolonen and Kirsi Kesälahti.
Competition is also fun for the audience. Here are the best locations to follow the race
1. Start at 10am – Visitor Center Kellokas
Race starts behind Visitor Center Kellokas. In front of the Visitor Center you can ask for viewing tips and grab the map.
2. 45min – 2 hours from the start – Crawling in a snowmaze
Snow maze can be seen from the skiing track.
3. 1 – 2,5 from the start – The east end of lake Kesänkijärvi
In front of cafe Kesänkikeidas there is the “I Scream tunnel”. Racers will jump into the icy water. By the fireplace the school parents association is selling refreshments.
4. Crossing the lake Kesänkijärvi
There are several obstacles on the way. Remember to stay on the marked track because there are very dangerous holes under the snow!
5. Crossing of skiing track and winter trail behind Kellokas
On the trail from the lake to the Visitor Center there are obstacles made of ropes. Come to see how the racers manage to traverse on ropes.
1. 2 – 6 pm – The goal
The weather conditions affect the race time a lot. Come to see the last obstacles at race center and cheers the brave racers.
After the Race, there will be an After-Party held at the restaurant Pirtukirkko at hotel Äkäshotelli. We will have a nice evening celebrating all the outstanding Warriors!
All participants get free entrance to the party (entrance fee for others 15€).
The after party will start on Saturday at 8 p.m. with the price ceremony.
The live music will start at 9 p.m. Artist of the evening is Suvi Karjula & In The Mood.
The best man and woman of Warrior squad get this gorgeous Warrior Knife with an individually shaped handle!
The Warrior Knife was designed for demanding outdoor, fishing and hunting purposes. The core principle of the design process was to ensure optimal functionality in extreme conditions and demanding use. The criteria were determined based on the requirements set by the military on the features of multi-purpose combat gear. A knife of this type must provide a firm and ergonomic grip, versatility and durability.
The Warrior Knife is made to withstand heavy-duty use: carving, cutting, shearing, twisting and skinning. The handle is ergonomically shaped to ensure a firm and comfortable hold. The knife is available in two sizes: M and L. The production method also enables the fabrication of a customised, individually shaped handle. It feels warm to the touch in cold weather and provides excellent grip regardless of humid conditions, snow, blood, fish slime or underwater use. The replaceable blades, attachment features and titanium handle ensure that the Warrior Knife is the tool you need to handle the most demanding situations.
The Warrior Knife – ultimate features without compromise
Toughest is heading for Finland for the first time. Toughest Vörå takes place 18.8.2018. Toughest is prize awarded as the best OCR event in Europe three years in a row.
Toughest and Winter Warrior Finland have agreed about co-operation.
1. The winners of Winter Warrior Finland get the chance to compete among world top OCR runners in the elite start of Toughest Vörå 18.8.2018. This prize is for the best man and woman of the Warrior squad.
2. Participants of Winter Warrior Finland get 10% discount for Toughest Vörå.
3. Winter Warrior Finland gives 15% discount of participation fee for those who have registered to Toughest Vörå.
Winter Warrior Finland is a very demanding OCR and the course is challenging also for experienced races. The race is intended for athletes who are serious about testing their physical and psychological limits. There are three race squads: Warrior squad, fitness squad and team competition. The race course is 13 km long and all obstacles or punishments defined per obstacle must be performed accurately. The time for each participant or team is measured and the best racers and the best team are rewarded. The fastest runner of each participating country is rewarded as flag-bearer. There will be a finisher medal for all runners that successfully complete the full race course.
In addition to the race squads we are introducing Winter Warrior Challenge. The challenge is intended for those who want to challenge themselves alone or as a group but are not interested in competing or else want to take it a bit less serious. Winter Warrior Challenge course is shorter skipping the weary conquering of the fell Kesänki. The course length is about 10 km. There will be no timing or prizes. Except for the Kesänki tour, the course and the obstacles are the same. The participants face the same demanding obstacles but in the challenge squead the completion is always optional. The participation fee for the Winter Warrior Challenge is 55 €. Registration to Winter Warrior Challenge opens 13.2.
If a racer who has registered before announcing the Winter Warrior Challenge decides to switch to the challenge squad by the end of February 2018, he / she is entitled to a refund of the difference in the fee.
A participant of a race squad can also move to challenge squad during the competition at lake Kesänki before starting the climb to fell Kesänki if the strength is not enough for the full course. In this case, the runner’s timing is suspended and he will be considered part of challenge squad.
All participants will receive Winter Warrior Finland t-shirt and free entry to the evening party!