The NUTS Karhunkierros presented by Garmin & La Sportiva event is on as its best. The longest distance race, 166 km, started at noon today.
So far there are front runners Antti Itkonen, Jussi Nokelainen and Jaakko Eskelinen on the top of overall, but they still have a long night to run ahead. Saara Päätälo and Lotta Puttonen are leads of female category.
On Saturday there will be three starts: 83 km, 55km and 34km. The winner of 2018 Kaisa Saario (F) is participating the 83 km race again. Expected challeger to her is Mia Tuoriniemi, last year’s third. On the top end of male category there are likely Maxim Voronkov (RU), who took the silver medal in 2018. Other fast runners in this race will be e.g. Miikka-Pekka Rautiainen, Jussi Kumpula and the very experienced mountain ultra runner Juha Jumisko.
The 55 kilometers race is a second contest of Buff Trail Tour Finland 2019. The names, who are worth of keep tracking in this race, are Oona Hilkamo, Susanna Ylinen, Julia Silvennoinen and Riikka Tulppo in the female category. In the male category Henri Ansio, who has been preeminent participant in the trailrunning sport lately, is the most supposed victor candidate. The succeed runner at national level has also been Jani Virta.
There are strong athletes, such as Juuso Simpanen and Sami Vähänen, also at the 34 km contest. These men are both members of the Finland’s national team. Reetta Peltonen (F), the last year’s winner, is one of the favorites too. The challengers are probably e.g. a cross country skier Maija Hakala and Irina Nousiainen.
All together there are 3000 participants at the event. Most of them are people who enjoy keeping fit simply by running in the wilderness.
The atmosphere in the event centre in Ruka is full of positive excitement considering the adventure waiting ahead, in the Nordic’s greatest trailrunning event.