By Niko Yli-Jaakkola
In terms of participants, the Vantaa Marathon is the second most popular full marathon in Finland. Runners can choose from three distances: full marathon, half marathon, or quarter marathon. Every year there are 1300–1600 runners who participate.
The Vantaa Marathon course is rather fast. For example, in 2016 twenty-three participants completed the full marathon in less than three hours. However, achieving a course record is not easy as the men’s full marathon record is 2:13:36 and the women’s is 2:43:11. As for the half marathon, the men’s and women’s records are respectively 1:06.30 and 1:14:08.
The Vantaa Marathon has been held in Tikkurila, Vantaa since 1994. This location makes transportation to the marathon quite convenient – whether runners are traveling from abroad or within Finland. The Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is located about six kilometers from the Vantaa Marathon. It would be easy for runners to arrive on a morning flight and leave on an evening flight. Additionally, the Tikkurila train station is just one kilometer from the event. If runners are looking for accommodation, there are numerous options near the competition centre of the Vantaa Marathon. Runners interested in sightseeing can visit the Science Centre Heureka in Tikkurila.
Every year the Vantaa Marathon hosts runners from all over the world. For example, the winner of the men’s event in 2016 was from the United Kingdom. The Vantaa Marathon consists of four loops of 10.5 kilometers on a smooth course in an urban setting. There are three different start times to avoid congestion among the runners. The Vantaa Marathon has received highly positive feedback. In 2016, 96% of the participants indicated that they were very happy or quite happy with the route. Moreover, 99% were satisfied with the atmosphere on the route.
The Vantaa Marathon is held in October when the leaves are just starting to change color and the temperature outside ranges between 8-16 Celsius. The Vantaa Marathon is well known for its fast course, cool weather, and convenient location for travel and lodging. All of this makes the Vantaa Marathon the season’s final running event for many.
Vantaa Marathon on 14 October 2017
Photos: Niko Yli-Jaakkola