The event in Gustavelund, Finland hosts several long-distance races on the indoor rowing machine including half-marathon (21km), marathon (42km), and extreme excursions (100km and 24 hours). According to organisers, this year’s event was a success in many ways.

“We arranged the race in a large outdoor beer terrace for the first time and the tent was really good since the sides could be detached to provide optimal temperature and flow of air regardless of the weather conditions outside,” says organiser Kristina Bjorknas who said the tent was set up next to Lake Tuusula and the heat from the erging may have warmed the area. "On the morning of the race the lake was still completely covered in ice but after the race the ice had melted away!" Bjorknas says. 

There were athletes from Finland, France, Sweden and Estonia competing, with two athletes doing the full 100km distance. Four World Records were broken, including the World Record for the marathon distance in the masters age 60 category. Antti Varis completed 42km in a time of 2:32:47.

The three other world records were for the dynamic rower, a new addition to this year’s event.  “It has become surprisingly popular,” says Bjorknas. “we plan to have even more rowers on dynamic machines. The rowers on dynamic gave very good feedback and want this category to be there in the future too.”

Times at the event ranged from 1 hour 23 minutes for the half-marathon to 7 hours 56 minutes for the 100km. The two participants in the 100km cited their worst moment around 50km, but said the pain eased off after that. “Good company helps,” says Bjorknas. “And food and snacks. The 100km rowers were rowing in a ‘sea of candy’ according Magnus von Schenck from Sweden.”



The Open Ergo Marathon was first created in 2003, when Pentti Soini was training for the 58km Sulkava race, a big rowing race for traditional wooden and big boats that takes place every July in Finland. The first event was small. Pentti and his friends took their own ergs down to a vacant kindergarten and did the marathon distances together. “They noticed that doing ultradistances on the erg in good company helps to do the distance and since then, the event has been organised by Pentti and his boat club, Keravan Urheilijat, and the number of competitors has been steadily growing,” says Bjorknas.

For more information about the event, and the full results, click here.