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The Rokua Geopark Challenge Begins a New 24 hour Race-Series in Europe

Press Release / 16.03.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
There will be a variety of challenges the Rokua Geopark Challenge
There will be a variety of challenges the Rokua Geopark Challenge / © Tapani Launonen

The Rokua Geopark Challenge will hold its 10th anniversary race in Finland this August.  Once that is complete the race will expand into a European race series, with races being held in several of the finest European Geoparks next year. The race format is 24 hours, 2-person mixed teams or female teams.

The races are going to be broadcast, making them more attractive for sponsors and the general public. (Previously the races have been shown on Finnish TV.)  The broadcasts and the increasing media coverage should also help the teams to attract their own sponsors.

 A Beautiful Location and an International Standard

In previous years the race has been known for routes of international adventure racing standard, for good maps, and for memorable challenges. The race is a true challenge for experienced adventure racers, and it is also suitable as a first time adventure race. The route planner is Seppo Mäkinen, an award-winning rogaining athlete, adventure racer and orienteerer.

The race route will be demanding. There might not be big mountains in Rokua Geopark, but orienteering in areas with multiple small paths as well as in wilderness areas without any paths will be challenging. The race maps will be accurate and up- to-date.

According to the race planner the 24hr race will include long and demanding stages, fitting in with the idea of an international 24hr race series. The race will start with a 2-hour prologue, followed by a long and hard stage involving challenging navigation and carrying your gear for a long distance.

The large wilderness-type bog areas will also be mentally hard when the teams need to move long distances without any paths or tracks. The MTB stages will be on paths, including some great technical sections. The paddling will take place in 2 person canoes or in kayaks.

From previous years the competitors will remember the legendary roller skating stage, which will lead the teams into a long trek across large bogs.

Rokua Geopark has a unique terrain with many ice-age features. As a nature destination a Geopark is always exceptional. The terrain in Rokua consists of majestic pine forests, many kettle-hole formations and large bogs. For paddling there is the large lake 'Oulujärvi' where the waves can be big and wind conditions harsh and sea-like.

According to the international adventure racing rules no outside service-points are allowed during the race. The organiser will transport the necessary team gear to the changing areas on route. As reported by the organisers the race route will be such that all the teams can finish the race and get a race result. The route planner estimates that about 20-25% of the teams are able to complete the whole course.

A Gateway to International Adventure Races

The winner of the Rokua Geopark Challenge 2021 will get an entry place for the 2022 European race series. The 2021 race is ideally suited as a long training race for experienced teams or as a 'taster-race' for new teams trying to get into international adventure racing.

The Geopark Challenge 24-hour race is also suited to teams already doing long international adventure races. The race will be demanding enough, but as a 24hr race the recovery time is considerably faster than that of multiday races. Thus the top Finnish teams, as well as several international teams have already signed up for the race.

And of course the Geopark Challenge is also the perfect place to try to complete a 24-hour race for the first time.

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