Every year RacingThePlanet hosts an Ultramarathon in a new and exciting location in addition to the regular 4 Deserts Ultramarathon series. This is a 250KM (155 Mile) self-supported footrace that explores the very best of the beautiful landscapes and cultural highlights that each country has to offer.
The first RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon in 2008 took place in Vietnam and routed competitors through the rice terraces of Sapa in northwest Vietnam. Other previous locations include Namibia, Australia, Nepal, Jordan, Iceland, Madagascar, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Patagonia, New Zealand and most recently Georgia, The Caucasus in 2021.
Many people ask, “How do you chose the location each year?” There are many considerations in the decision-making process but what we promise to offer is a unique landscape of varied terrain that takes in some of the country’s most iconic natural features that will be sure to take your breath away.
In 2022 we are exploring the remote and stunning landscapes of Lapland, in Northern Finland! The home country of one of our Race Directors Riitta, who said “Lapland is a beautiful region that I am delighted to share with the RacingThePlanet community. It will make for a truly exciting location for our racers to enjoy”. Considered the last wilderness in Europe, Lapland is also one of the best places to see the Northern Lights! Lapland is not a country in itself but a region of northern Europe which is in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. RacingThePlanet: Lapland will take place in the Finnish part of Lapland. Rovaniemi is the gateway to Lapland and is a modern city known for being the "official" hometown of Santa Claus.
What does Lapland have to offer? The course is located in the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park which is one of the 40 great national parks in Finland. The route is diversified and colourful: Lapland’s stunning fell scenery is a big part of the race - the area has over 20 fells ranging from 300 to 800 meters. The course is also surrounded by pristine old Taiga forests and Kelo trees up to 500 years old, majestic colourful wetlands with duckboards that allow you in to experience the vibrant wildlife of Lapland.
Rivers and lakes, rocky ravines and Rakka rocks from the Ice Age; these are rocks that decorate the fell tops with colours of yellow, purple and green. You will sleep in a reindeer corral, pass the point where the Olympic Torch was lit in 1952, visit the traditional fishing villages and lumberjack's cabins and get to enjoy the Finnish woodburn sauna.
We chose August as the perfect time of year to visit. The end of the summer months mark the beginning of the majestic season of Autumn, which is when Lapland gets its truly iconic ‘Ruska’ colours, and there are significantly fewer mosquitos out on the trails. This is the best season for taking in Lapland’s many national parks. It is meditation and mindfulness all wrapped up in one of the world’s most unique and breath-taking sceneries with the best and purest air and water this planet has to offer. As the days grow shorter, the leaves turn to gold and crimson and the skies open for the aurora borealis, also known as the 'northern lights', one of the most spectacular displays in the night sky.
Across northern parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland over to the Kola Peninsula in Russia, thousands of indigenous Sámi people roam the area of Sapmi or Lapland as we know it. Their culture is rich with religion, folklore and mythology entrancing you into many stories of tradition and heritage.
Lapland has been relatively unaffected by COVID-19, perhaps due to its sparse population, so this will also make for a more enjoyable experience and help us to minimise the number of changes required due to COVID restrictions, which continue around the world.
Samantha Fanshawe, CEO of events for RacingThePlanet, says "Since Riitta started with RacingThePlanet more than 10 years ago she has lured me with photos and stories of Lapland in her home country. At last, I am experiencing it for myself, and it is as amazing and exciting as Riitta has told me. It's going to be a stunning and very personal RacingThePlanet Ultra."