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.