Running and rowing under the midnight sun
In summer, when Finland’s 188,000 lakes have thawed and the Nordic sun dominates the night as well as the day, Finns pull on their running shoes or grab their oars and venture outdoors with a passion.
Taking advantage of the magical midnight sun, each year tens of thousands of people join some of the world’s largest, oldest and most well-known running and rowing events in Finland. Suomi Meloo Kanoottiviesti, Finnish for ‘Finlandia Canoe Relay’, is the longest canoe/kayak relay in the world. Every June, over 400 participants from Finland and abroad paddle at an average speed of six kilometres per hour across 500 kilometres of lakes and rivers, drawn en masse to the waters bathed in the light of the midnight sun.
In 2013 more than 50 corporate, club and family teams, made up of six to 12 paddlers each, launched their canoes or kayaks from Kemihaara on the northeast border near Russia, ending up five days later at Tornio on the west coast bordering Sweden.
The summer isn’t endless in Finland, but there are almost endless summer days. On a fine summer day, Finns have an overwhelming urge to go outside and get out of town.