Bodom Trail reopens entries for international runners

One of Finland’s top trail races opens up for overseas runners

Emily Forsberg won last year’s Bodom Trail (credit: Kari Koskinen)

Emily Forsberg won last year’s Bodom Trail (credit: Kari Koskinen)

International entries for the Bodom Trail, one of the most popular trail races in Finland, have been reopened. A limited number of spaces are now available reserved for foreign entrants for the showcase 12/21km event on May 4, while some open registrations remain available for Bodom Night, the 10km option, the evening before.

The event takes place in Pirttimäki recreational forest in Espoo, which is just 30 minutes by road from Helsinki centre and even nearer to Helsinki airport. It combines inspiring nature, a tough physical challenge and a great atmosphere - suitable for elite to novice.

Although proximity to the airport allows for a flying visit, most foreign participants combine the race with a sightseeing tour of one of Europe’s most beautiful countries. As the most forested nation in Europe with the cleanest air in the world, the “Land of a Thousand Lakes” is a great country for trail runners. With the capital just 19km (12 miles) away from the Bodom Trail venue, the event is a dream for ‘run tourists’. Visitors to the compact capital can visit the the famous neoclassical Helsinki Cathedral, enjoy the city’s architecture, including the largest concentration of art nouveau buildings in Northern Europe, or take a trip to the nearby Suomenlinna Sea Fortress UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bodom Trail offers runners the chance to take part over either 12 or 21km. All participants start together over the opening 12km loop before deciding whether to finish or do another 9km in a different area with more technical but still very runnable trails. The fully marked route showcases the best scenery the forest has to offer. For those who struggle on rocky, mountain terrain, this race presents a friendlier but still challenging option.

Last year, Swedish trail star Emelie Forsberg, a former runner-up in the UTMB CCC race, saw the 21km event an attractive enough option to fit into her busy racing schedule and she set the course record. Forsberg, who is set to be eight months’ pregnant when Bodom Trail takes place this year, recently said: “Bodom Trail was a very nice experience, to explore a little of how the trail world is in Finland! It had beautiful wild Scandinavian nature with old trees, lingering soft trails and playful terrain! A lot of small uphills and downhills made the kilometres fly by!”

British ultra-runner Maggie Dempsey, a top-100 finisher in last year’s UTMB women’s category, ran in last year’s 12km event and afterwards said: ”Trails in Great Britain are a combination of mud and roots, but they don’t have the same technical element that makes Bodom Trail course so challenging and interesting.”

German trail runner Philipp Reiter, a top-10 finisher in races such as Glen Coe Skyline and Ultra Skymarathon Madeira, has taken part the last two years’ races, combining it with his role as a photographer, and said: “It has perfect organisation and a pretty strong competition. Bodom Trail showed me the unbreakable passion of the Finish runners for my favourite sport.”

Bodom Trail, the first race of the BUFF Trail Tour Finland series, attracted 26 nationalities last year from as far as USA and Malaysia. Overall more than 2000 took part in the events, which at the time made it the biggest ever trail run in Finland.