By Maarit Simoska, Chair, Arctic Marathon Club
The Rovaniemi Marathon follows the Kemijoki, Finland’s longest and most impressive river. The city of Santa Claus welcomes all runners, and the interesting route helps runners to complete their event, whether it be the 10K, half marathon or full marathon.
The route offers runners the chance to admire beautiful hills, lush riverbanks and the local architecture. The Kemijoki, which is over 500 kilometres long, is very wide in Rovaniemi, being met in the centre of town by the Ounasjoki, another major river. You will not find scenery like this anywhere else in the world.
The route is flat, and although Rovaniemi is not a big city, there are a lot of spectators along the way cheering the runners on. Refreshment stations and traffic control function impeccably, the people are welcoming, and the event offers quality prizes. Santa Claus is present at the start and at the prize ceremony, and medals are handed out to the runners by elves. To top it all off, the reindeer soup that is served to all the participants is highly praised.
The start and finish are conveniently situated in the city centre. You can get to Rovaniemi by train, plane or bus, and you will find a wide variety of accommodation options in the centre. The local camping site is located about 1.5 kilometres from the city centre, just across the river.
We have been trying to reach the 1000 mark for several years now. Our race organisation is capable of welcoming as many as 3000 runners. There are a lot of running enthusiasts in Lapland and in the neighbouring areas, as well as in northern Sweden, northern Norway and Russia. The marathon has attracted numerous runners from around the world.
Rovaniemi usually enjoys nice, summery weather in the beginning of July – partly cloudy, about 20 degrees and fresh air to breathe. Sometimes the weather can be rainy and windy, though, especially by the river. We have only had ‘hot’ weather once, so far there has been no snow in July!
Rovaniemi is a busy summer town. Crossing the Arctic Circle is something that should definitely be experienced. You can also visit Santapark, Santa Claus’s Official Office, Ounasvaara, the Arktikum Museum, the Pilke Science Centre, the Jutajaiset Folklore Festival, or enjoy a cruise on the Kemijoki, take a smoke sauna in the Midnight Sun – the possibilities are endless. The Ranua Wildlife Park is also worth a visit, especially for families with children.
We welcome you to Rovaniemi to run and gain new experiences!
Photos: Rovaniemi Marathon