In 1939 the Soviet Union had a goal to cut Finland in half by marching to Oulu. After this, the battles of the north would have easily fallen in favour of the Soviet Union and the Soviets would have been able to focus on conquering southern Finland. During the 1st till the 7th of January of 1940, finish troops were able to prevent an invasion of Soviet division on Raate Road. This was a big win for Finland and the battle of Raate road remains strong in Finnish history.
At the Raate Marathon, you have the opportunity to run through this historical battlefield and at the same time experience the beautiful nature of Kainuu.
Along the way there are several historical monuments and one of the most famous of them is the Gate of Raate. The Gate of Raate is a huge stone field where every stone demonstrates someone lost in the battle. The bells in the centre of the stone field demonstrate all the 105 days of winter war. Running through this field is a really thought-provoking experience and honours the Finnish history.
In August, the weather and temperature in Kainuu are ideal for running. The average temperature is about 13 to 15 degrees. Not too hot but not too cold either. Running conditions for the marathon could not be better!
There are several courses you can choose from: marathon (42,2 km), a half marathon (21,1 km) and 10 km race. Children also have their own “kid’s mile”.
The marathon starts from the Raate frontier bomb zone and ends in Suomussalmi, which is the Kiannon Kuohu Spa. About half of the route is on a well-managed sand/gravel road and the rest of the course is on a paved road.
While you are in the area, discover the former residence (Turjanlinna) who is a famous Finnish writer, Ilmari Kianto. Also, there is a nature trail at Soiva metsä (Melody forest) and Hossa national park (where there are rock paintings that are estimated to be 3500-4500 years old).
Come and experince Suomussalmi’s beautiful nature and rich history for yourself, at the Raate Marathon.
Raate Marathon on 24 August 2019 (link to the website)
Written by Waltteri Kanerva and Keira Niemi | Photo (above) by Hannu Huttu