Race video 2019 is now released! Get a taste of the awesome race feeling here.
Winter Warrior Finland was once again a great event. 51 racers from 12 different countries ran in breathtaking scenery across the fells through a tough race with an amazing attitude. Every competitor most certainly earned their medal and can be extremely proud of their performance. However, the race is a competition and this time Samuli Salmenoja from Finland came first with an unbelievable performance. Samuli led the competition from the start and even managed to run in the deep, unbroken snow.
A warm-hearted prize ceremony was held in hotel Ylläskaltio in the evening after the race. Warrior squad winners Samuli Salmenoja (1:49) and Leena Toljamo (2:38) received unique silver Winter Warrior Finland necklaces designed and manufactured by Damastikoru, as well as reindeer hides given by local boutique Mailan putiikki and a packet of Warrior coffee. In addition they earned a free participation to the elite squad of OCR competition Toughest Finland 2019.
Also the second fastest man and woman in the Warrior squad were rewarded: Artur Szempruch (2:11) and Tanja Korhonen (2:44). The competition for the title of fastest Warrior woman was fierce between Leena and Tanja but Leena claimed the win on the challenging obstacles in the end. As a reward they received ORIOCX Sparta running shoes, especially designed for OCR and trail running.
The winner of men’s Race squad was Jari Kumpulainen (2:33). Henriikka Miettunen and Henna Tyni (3:17) crossed the finish line together, sharing the title of the fastest woman in Race squad. What’s notable is that in a race as international as this, the winners of Race squad were all from the local village. They were rewarded with a finnish innovation: Fasciawear training suits.
The best and only team, Team Second Round crossed the finish line with a time of 4:05. Mira Lehtinen, Aija Mehtälä and Anniina Ruusi took part in the race already last year in Challenge squad and this time they bravely ran the full course. They received Winter Warrior cloth bags with Warrior coffee to give them energy for new challenges.
Also visible in the logo of Winter Warrior Finland, the flag-bearer is a unique part of the race. The fastest runner of every country get their own country’s flag to carry on the finish line. The following warriors made it to the Hall of Fame of flag-bearers:
Samuli Salmenoja, Finland
Artur Szempruch, Poland
Quentin Freret, France
Zdeněk Pokorný, Czech
Thorsten Hartmann, Germany
Martin Theodorsen, Denmark
Florian Zuschnig, Austria
Chris Paul, England
Remy Kruijsse, Netherlands
Juri Lahtinen, USA
Steven Platt, Great Britain
Willy Bommarez, Belgium
The flag-bearers were given Kupilka-kuksas (traditional cups made from biocomposite material), donated by Visit Ylläs.
Warrior Spirit is a very important thing to us and also this year we awarded two brave warriors for special ‘sisu’ and courage during the race. Noora Kokkonen and Saara-Kaisa Konttori were rewarded with bird-themed kuksas crafted by Lapinkettu.
Alex Jahnke who celebrated his 50th birthday in the race was surprised in the price ceremony with a candleholder made from reindeer antlers, given by Saga-Maaret.
And lastly HUGE thanks to all the racers for keeping the magnificent national park of Pallas-Yllästunturi clean of any trashes also this year.
The pure and quiet nature of Pallas-Yllästunturi national park make this race perfect also for everyone who loves trail running: apart from the obstacles this is trail running at its finest!
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.
More information about accommodation options and offers can be found at http://winterwarrior.fi/accommodation/ and if you have any questions on the matter, we are more than happy to help!
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.
Finally, a BIG thanks to every racer: we didn’t find any trash from the race track in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park !!
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.
I nice warm treat is waiting for racers after the finich line. The sauna is sponsored by Nettivuokraus.com, a Finish rental market place.