Estonian Winter Capital Otepää is hosting European Sauna Marathon
February is known as the month of marathons in the Estonian winter captal of Otepää and, next year, both major marathons will take place again: The famous cross-country skiiing event, Tartu Marathon, and the other equally famous European Sauna Marathon.
The XI European Sauna Marathon will be held on 15 February 2020 and tickets will be on sale from 6 January through Piletilevi: www.piletilevi.ee
This time, however, tickets will be limited to 120 teams so anyone wishing to take part in the increasingly popular event will need to buy their tickets fast.
"Despite the increasing popularity, fewer teams will be allowed on the cour next year," explains Jorma Riivald, Head of the Otepää Cultural Centers. "We want to make the event even more enjoyable for sauna enthusiasts so that everyone can enjoy as many warm saunas as they can."
Registration will take place at Otepää Gymnasium Sports Hall (Mäe 23, Otepää) between 9.00-11.30 a.m where participants can be get changed. The finish line will be at the same location until 5.30 p.m when the race closes and soup will be served there.
Each team must take their ticket with them to the start and then fill in their registration sheet in return for their competition wristband and orienteering chips, which must be registered with the sauna. However, paper orienteering maps are being used this year instead of the phone app.
"Last year's experience showed that the landscape of South Estonia is not very suitable for the phone app. We had several phone service failures last year and the phone map apps stopped working," stated Jorma Riivald.
Every team must also bring €35 in cash as a deposit for the tracking wristband. Tickets for the Sauna Marathon are not refundable.
As is traditional, the prizes for first, second, and third place will be selected from all registered teams that complete the course, along with some bonus prizes. The sauna owners will also be able to give out their own special prizes to their famourite team.
After the race has finished, the afterparty will take place at Otepää nightclub Comeback where participants can dance the night away with Estonian superstar 2 Quick Start. The entrance is free from 10-11 p.m. with a competition wristband.
The European Sauna Marathon is a fun, orienteering game. Each team of four is assigned a list of saunas to track down around Otepää and must visit them all as fast as possible. Team members must be in the sauna hot room for at least 3 minutes, as well as visit ice holes and hot tubes. In order to do that the team must have a car.
The European Sauna Marathon is organized by Otepää Cultural Center, Otepää Rural Municipality, sauna owners of Otepää area and volunteers. The radio Ring FM will keep an eye on European Sauna Marathon and the radio Sky Plus is keeping up the sauna mood. Sauna Marathon sponsors are night club Comeback and sauna blog EstonianSaunas.com.
Photo: Adam Illingworth
Photos from last year's event