Top reasons to go running in Finland – from marathons to trail runs

4 minute read

Credits: Aapo Laiho

Mild weather, clean air, and beautiful nature offer the perfect setting for running

Running has a rich history in Finland, deeply intertwined with the nation's sporting culture. Famous runners, like the legendary "Flying Finn" Paavo Nurmi and four-time Olympic gold medal winner Lasse Virén, have paved the way for the sport and multiple running events in Finland.

In addition to a rich running history, Finland offers diverse and unique running experiences for enthusiasts of all levels. The country's beautiful natural locations and safe urban areas provide excellent backdrops for sustainable running adventures. Finland hosts a variety of high-quality running events, including marathons, trail runs, and swimruns. The cool Finnish climate is well-suited for running, with mild temperatures and the world's cleanest air.

Whether you're a professional athlete or simply enjoy staying active, running in Finland offers a perfect blend urban energy, exciting events, and natural beauty – emission-free.

Here are our top picks for best the best (and most peculiar) events and spots to help you hit the ground running.  

Marathons and running events in Helsinki

The Helsinki City Marathon is part of the biggest running event in Finland, known as the Helsinki City Running Day. This event is typically held in May. The longest run, Helsinki City Marathon, is an anticipated annual event that has been organized over forty times and is known for its scenic route and vibrant atmosphere. Another great marathon option is the famous Helsinki Marathon, held annually in August. 

Runners in Helsinki get the opportunity to explore the city's iconic landmarks, charming neighborhoods, and picturesque waterfront areas. The marathon routes showcase a blend of urban beauty and natural surroundings, making them visually captivating experiences.

Bonus tip: If you're looking for a truly unique running event, try the fun and playful Midnight Run held in Helsinki every autumn. It's a guaranteed party!

Credits: Suunto Finland

Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Turku – follow in the running legend’s footsteps

Paavo Nurmi Marathon, named after the Finnish running legend and held since 1992, is hosted in Turku in August. Turku is a beautiful historical city in the Coast and Archipelago region where you can run a route by the River Aura that flows through the city centre and quickly change scenery to the old oak forests of Ruissalo. Ruissalo is located on an island right next to the city and offers several marked trails that are accessible also outside the running event.

Paavo Nurmi Marathon also features mini-marathons for younger participants. For the latest information, please check the event’s site. 

Historical Turku provides a great backdrop for a marathon where urban meets nature.
Credits: Digimuseo / Forum Marinum

NUTS trail running in Northern Finland and Lapland

Trail running in Northern Finland and Lapland offers a captivating and immersive experience in one of the most breathtaking regions of the country. With vast wilderness, rugged terrains, and quiet landscapes, these northern regions provide a unique playground for trail runners.

NUTS is series of trail running events held in different parts of Lapland. The distances range from around 10 kilometres to more than 160 kilometres, and the events take place during the summer months from May to August. All NUTS events take place in stunning landscapes with varied terrain providing an opportunity to test your limits. NUTS events are known for a sense of togetherness and supportive spirit among the attendees. 

The NUTS locations offer more than running. Delve deeper into the best things to do in the summer around Kuusamo, Ylläs and Pyhä.

For the latest on routes and schedules, visit the NUTS site

The legendary Karhunkierros trail is the home to the annual NUTS event in Kuusamo.
NUTS Ylläs-Pallas takes place in Western Lapland in the fells of the unforgettable Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.

Kainuu Trail in Hossa National Park

The Kainuu Trail event is held in the Hossa National Park in July. Hossa is one of more than forty national parks in Finland and a trail runner’s paradise. Hossa is home to Finland’s largest canyon lake, stretching over 3 km, as well as ancient rock drawings. The Kainuu Trail event has been organized since 2020 and it has routes starting from the 10-kilometre Huosius distance to the magnificent 78-kilometre Julma-Ölkky experience.

For the latest information about Kainuu Trail, check the event site.

Hossa is one of the newest national parks in Finland.

Lake to Lake Swimrun in Espoo

Lake to Lake Swimrun (also known as Järvestä Järveen Swimrun in Finnish) takes place in the Luukki outdoor area in Espoo in the Helsinki capital region. This mashup event, as the name would suggest, combines running in the forest and swimming in lakes. The running route includes technical forest trails as well as faster stretches. Expect a route that is around 14 kilometres long with 11 dips into seven different lakes. The longest swims are around 500 metres. The event is held in August.

For the latest information, please check the organiser’s website

The swimrun consists of 11 swim sections with a total length of 2.1 kilometres.
Credits: Severi Eerola

Bonus tip: Woolsock Run in Orivesi

Finland is known for many heartwarming and quirky events, and there is, naturally, also one involving running. 

Woolsock Run Finnish Championship is organised annually in Orivesi, in the Lakeland region. Orivesi is a small town that’s around a 40-minute drive from the city of Tampere. This communal and light-hearted event is held in February. During the event, participants run (literally!) in the snow in wool socks with no shoes on. There are series for both adults and children and a typical distance is 200 metres. It's worth a try!

Credits: Myssyfarmi

More running activities in Finland

Here's a selection of other running-related activities and events around Finland.


Tahko Stairs

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