Finlandia Hiihto – Cross Country Ski Marathon

Cross Country skiing is not my normal type of event but a boys weekend to Finland with good mates and a chance to do a race with a difference – who could refuse.

Danny Boy, Big Ollie, Foo Fighter, Hunty and Power the Ox formed the tour party and the unofficial bucks for Power. A few beers in the lounge  and we were on the plane and into the cold night of Helsinki for a night of regional clubbing. We woke in the morning slightly dusty and ready to head north to Lathi for the race registration before heading to Messila where we were staying for the remainder of the trip.

Race morning – we all headed down to Lathi to the start line. Power and Danny doing the 50km race and the rest of us doing the shorter 32km race. Wrapped up and ready for the race – looking like pros, skiing like amateurs. We were very unprepared with only a few cross country skiing lessons under our belt. We believed in our fitness to get us through.

2km in the field starts to separate and the tram tracks in the snow are drawing down to two lines.  Dylan and I stick together and settle into a steady pace. The legs burn on the uphills but the fitness levels pull us through. Warm ribena at the rest stops is always a comforting drink to warm the muscles in the cold air. We file through the woods and over a golf course, the countryside is so beautiful with the deep snow covering everything.  We finish the race in fine form – and head to the finishing tent for hot soup and a juice box!!

Great race followed by a great night out in Lathi.

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