Early spring temperatures created a twist with the surprising 20-degree Celsius weather forcing organisers to take the indoor rowing machines out of the tent and onto the terrace.
“The temperature is normally 5 to 10 degrees Celsius, which is optimal for the long-distance race,” says one of the organisers Kristina Bjorknas. Even with the machines outside Bjorknas says it was still quite warm, which impacted racing times.
“The half marathon results were about 2-3 minutes slower and the full marathon about 3-4 minutes slower than normal,” she says. “But despite the warm weather, two rowers managed to break the Finnish national records.”
The event offers the marathon (42,195m) and the half marathon (21,097m) distances and arranges 100km or 24-hour races upon request. It rounds off the Finnish indoor calendar, which offers three other events (500m, 2000m, 10km) throughout the course of the winter.
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The organisers also offer the unique possibility to compete on different types of indoor rowing machines. Concept 2 static, Concept2 slides and RP3 rowing machines are made available for competitors.
Bjorknas explains why.
“The Finnish summer is short and sweet and rowers need to adapt to on-water rowing as soon as possible when winter is over,” says Bjorknas. “The best way to do that is to use dynamic indoor rowers instead of static during the spring time. This is the main reason we added the dynamic alternative for the marathon distance.
“We have done quite a bit of testing of all three erg types and have determined that for sessions of 60 minutes or longer, the difference in time between static Concept2 and dynamic slides or RP3 is 1%. So, we add 1% to the dynamic time results to make the results comparable. This might be the first time ever that Concept2, Concept2 on slides, and RP3 ergs have all been used side-by-side in the same event.”
Bjorknas says they are not fussy about the type of machine. The main goal of the event is to offer an opportunity for long-distance racing. “The marathon is an extreme distance and it helps to do it in a crowd of likeminded people,” she says.
One such competitor is Andy Robinson. Robinson travelled from Great Britain to the event. “My target time was 3hours 15minutes. On the day I was able to beat it by several minutes, mainly due to trying to catch my main competitor on the machine next to me!” he says.
Robinson was primarily using the ergometer to train for two cross-country skiing races. “I took up cross-country skiing last year and had two long distance races planned for February and March this year. My main training for them was going to be spending lots of time on the ergo so I needed the additional motivation of a long distance ergo event to keep me going. And I’d never been to Finland before but know it is regarded as one of the happiest countries in the world so wanted to experience it for myself. I wasn’t disappointed!”
Robinson trains an impressive 25-30 hours per week with a variety of different activities.
The Open Ergomarathon wants to continue to build interest in the event, and encourage more international rowers to attend.
“With a newly built spacious tent next to a fabulous beer terrace by a lake, with a sauna, we think we have the best place in the world for this event. It doesn’t matter if it is raining, snowing or even if the sun shining. Now we want to grow the event and to create the best event for extreme distance erging.” says Bjorknas.
If you are interested in the long-distance event, find more information on their website here.