Friday January 22, 2021

Rovaniemi hosts Arctic Circle Jukola on June 13-14

Published : 07 Jan 2020, 23:29

  DF Report

Johanna Sarriola, the chair of the organising committee. DF Photo.

The world’s largest orienteering relay Arctic Circle Jukola will be held in Rovaniemi on June 13-14, 2020.

The event is organised by Ounasvaaran Hiihtoseura and the city of Rovaniemi .and the competition takes place in the hilly area of Mäntyvaara-Vennivaara-Ollerovaara which lies west of Rovaniemi.

The event is held in different locations in Finland every year. The last time Rovaniemi hosted the Jukola Relay was in 1980.

“Preparations for the Arctic Circle Jukola started approximately five or six years ago. It requires a lot of preparations, time management, planning, and learning. The core team has been working for many years,” said Johanna Sarriola, the chair of the organising committee. She said the Jukola Relay is organised by volunteers every year. Approximately 1,500 volunteers or even more are needed.

All together, the number of Jukola guests including orienteering club members, team support staff, media professionals, and spectators is 50,000 including 18,000 orienteers and recreational athletes are taking part in the relay every year, said Sarriola.

The participants come from both home and abroad.

“Our goal is to organise the most international Jukola Relay of all times. As the name of the event, Arctic Circle Jukola, tells, it will be unique because of the Midnight Sun in Lapland. Our aim is to make it possible for all to enjoy the atmosphere of Jukola. And they can also stay a little bit longer in Rovaniemi than just a weekend,” Sarriola said.

She said the Jukola Relay is the world’s largest orienteering relay event. But it’s much more than just that. For many orienteers and families it is the highlight of the summer.

“Jukola’s unique atmosphere is a mixture of festival feeling, competition and a sense of community. The Jukola Relay weekend starts with the 4-leg Venla Relay at 2:00 pm on June 13, Saturday. The Jukola Relay has seven legs and it starts at 11:00 pm on Saturday. The relay competition continues through the night. Because of the midnight sun, there is no need for headlamps,” the committee Chair added.

She said one of the attractions of Jukola is that world-class athletes run the same tracks as the recreational orienteers, along with those trying the sport for the first time.

“I hope that we can offer unforgettable event not only for orienteers but also for spectators. Lapland gives a unique, add-on, and legendary Jukola Relay,” said Sarriola.

At the same time, the Venla Relay is organised for women. Mixed teams are allowed in the Jukola Relay, but the Venla Relay is open only for women. Both the relay races are open to anyone aged 16 or over.

No competition licence is required in Jukola, and anyone with teammates do not need to be members of an orienteering club, and can put together a team with friends, colleagues or relatives, if you wish.

The number of brothers in the novel by Aleksis Kivi that originally inspired the competition is seven and so the Jukola Relay has seven legs. The relay competition continues through the night, with the winning team finishing early on Sunday morning.

The Jukola Relay area is like a small town. Besides the race, you can enjoy great food in any of the many restaurants in the area, stop by the malt control point, pick up some new sports gears from the shops, or calm down in the forest church.

The registration for the competition has already opened on December 2, said the organiser.