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Course setters` blog / March 2019

Posted 3/20/2019

Now that we already have some teams coming from outside Finland (Russia, Estonia, Latvia - where are the Swedes?), it is time to write something in English.

The Rogaining Finnish Championship competition is arranged in South-West Finland, some 50 kilometers from Turku, the capital of the region. Sometimes the region is called Finland Proper (in Swedish Egentliga Finland), as the region is the most historical one in Finland and Turku was the capital of the country for centuries. South-West Finland has also a lot of cultivated areas. But, even if we are in the southern part of Finland and you can rightly expect the area to be densely populated, the completion area is surprisingly wild and unexpectedly uninhabited. It is actually one of the least inhabited areas in the whole of south Finland. This creates a really good basis for arranging a multifaceted rogaining competition, both for runners, hikers and bikers.

The competition centre (start and finish with the hash house) is located north of Vaskijärvi Strict Nature Reserve ( We have got a permission from the Finnish Forest Administration to pass the nature reserve using marked paths but otherwise the reserve is - as its name implies - reserved for nature protection purposes. Still from the paths you should be able to have a glimpse of really extraordinary Finnish old forests and swamp areas. Just remember that it is strictly forbidden to leave the marked paths and competitors violating this will be disqualified. There are some large swamp areas also outside the reserve and if you insist on wading across open, wet marshes, you are welcome to do it outside the reserve. These swamp areas very much resemble the swamps of northernmost Finland. Lapland is the area that often comes to my mind, when I wander in the competition area. Still, the terrain is totally different from the terrain in the Rogaining World Championship race in Finnish Lapland in 2015, as we do not have open fells (northern mountains) in southern Finland, but the terrain consist mostly of forests.

In the northern part of the competition area there is a protected lake, called Koskeljärvi. The idea is to have some controls by the lake, with good views over the lake. These locations are suitable for having a break during your competition. Koskeljärvi is the largest lake in the region without any summer cottages by the shores of the lake. Koskeljärvi is a protected lake known for its birds, and for example the Osprey is something you may very well notice when you visit the controls by the lake.

The competition areas is well over 200 km2 and contains almost all different types of terrain you can expect to have in this part of the country. If you are not familiar with Finnish terrain, it is a good idea to visit similar areas before the competition so that you know what to expect. I am sure that if you do this, you will have a better understanding on what kind of terrains to avoid and what kind of terrain is easy to pass. In making the competition map we will and already have put extra effort in describing the "passability" of the terrain (like marking the largest thickets and logged areas in the competition map). A very typical terrain for this part of Finland are open, rounded rocky hills, where it is extremely fast to proceed. You can expect all the hills to be like this, unless the trees have been cut down or the trees growing there are still young after logging.

The scale of the competition map is 1:30.000. This allows us to make a quite detailed map. As basis for the map we are using laser scanned material available from official Finnish open sources. This material is of extremely good quality and you can expect also to have a quality map in the competition.

When writing this, we still have snow in the terrain. Last autumn I was able to visit some 20 control locations in the area. This work will continue soon, once the snow melts away. We will have roughly 80 controls in the competition and they will be located in very different types of terrain. Naturally the difficulty of the controls varies and I am sure that we are able to offer challenges also for the people who think they are experts in orienteering. At the same time you will be able to plan a route that favors easy running, along paths and forest roads. August is a summer month in southern Finland. The nights are no longer as short as they are during mid-summer in June/July. During the competition weekend, the sun sets down at 21:02, and rises at 06:04. The nights are already dark during the darkest hours, and not dusky as they are in mid-summer, so you need proper lamps if you wish to proceed during the mid-night hours. In mid-summer the night would last less than 5 hours, so the difference is remarkable.

At the moment we have 17 teams enrolled in the Finnish Championship race by foot, and 5 teams in the Mountain Bike Championship race. We do hope and expect to have over 350 competitors. Wherever you come from, you are very welcome to take part in this quality race in a quality terrain. I am sure that this will be a race you will positively remember for a long time. Remember that the entry fee will rise if you register after March 31st. See you soon in Vaskijärvi!