Sauna marathon in Estonia

On 12th of February something  extraordinary happened in this
Nordic country – people competed in going to sauna. All participants had to visit a total of 18 saunas, swim in ice-cold water and do it as fast as possible. Before the start each team was handed a map with points they had to visit. The fastest team managed to complete the race in three hours, but there were also lads whose time passed the 10-hour mark.

This year the sauna marathon took place for the third time and hosted more than 450 sauna fans. For the organizers wonder there were even participants form places like Nepal, China and Spain. Rohan, who visited Estonia for the first time admitted that Estonians are one crazy nation and it was probably the coolest thing he has done in his whole life. Temperatures in regular Finnish sauna reached the maximum of 100oC, but the course included also a couple of steam, smoke and hot tube saunas. Every sauna visit culminated with a brief soak in an icy water.

Ancient Estonians believed saunas were inhabited by spirits. In folk tradition sauna was not only the place where one washed, but also used as the place where brides were ceremoniously washed, where women gave birth and the place where dying made their final bed. Nowadays there is a sauna in almost every private house and people use it on every Friday or Saturday to relax from a long and hard week.

Sauna marathon was organized as a pre-event for the 63km long Tartu skiing marathon that takes place on the 19th of February in Otepää.

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