Lahden satama parkrun #35
By Stuart McTeer
The temperature display said 9 degrees, making the morning cooler than the recent heatwave. The blue skies, though, were just about managing to fight off the clouds as we arrived on this special day to find a beautiful lake backdrop stretching into the distance. It was the first time parkrun in Finland had been able to stage an extra event on Ascension Day, and Lahden satama was among five across the country offering an opportunity to join a bonus 5k at 9.30am on a Thursday morning.
The welcoming vibe so familiar to parkrun had started for me earlier that morning at the town’s railway station. Staggering off an early train from Helsinki I spotted others on the platform who could only have arrived for a similar adventure. We were initially strangers, but very quickly Sam, Timi and I were following the directions from Alan who had also
travelled from the UK with family members Karen and Anna. As we photographed each other standing beside the LAHTI sign on the waterfront, we were soon joined by a growing number of parkrunners from across the UK, Denmark and Germany.
‘It’s lovely to see you all today’, said Run Director Noora as she explained the route that would take us around a pretty park and then out and back along the lakeside. Some of us nervously noted the blustery breeze, but experienced regulars had reassured us that these were easier conditions than the snow that covered the route for much of winter. In a lovely gesture, Noora name checked individually the volunteers who were giving up their time so we could run, walk or jog our 5k, and we clapped each one appreciatively. It was interesting to hear how many of those helping were from Noora and her husband Reima’s family, who week in, week out put on this event in Lahti after discovering parkrun whilst living in the UK.
Then off we went, along the flat course that took us along a bustling lakeside where preparations were being made for a bike show, and past the Kariranta café where we knew there would be amazing cakes waiting for us along with our post parkrun coffee. We were clapped enthusiastically every time we passed what would be the eventual finish spot, and while the wind was strong at times, large parts of the route were sheltered making it even more enjoyable in the sunshine. The atmosphere was lovely, and it was great seeing so many people of different nationalities and ages enjoying this event together.
36 people completed Lahden satama parkrun that morning, with Heino Aalto becoming first finisher in 20.51 just ahead of visitors Pete Scolls and Paul Whelan. Heino also had the highest age grade of 79.70%. Karen Hulme was first female finisher in 25.21 and congratulations to Jana, Lyyra, Matti and Suvi for achieving a personal best time.
For 26 people, this was their first time at Lahti. I had travelled from Dartford, which is just outside London, many others had travelled much further. However, it was lovely to see that for two participants, this was the first ever parkrun. Welcome Heimo and Valtteri! I hope you return and become regulars; it does become addictive.
Ja lopuksi, kiitos yhdelletoista vapaaehtoiselle, joka teki aamusta niin mukavan. Meitä onnisti saada osallistua niin kivaan tapahtumaan. (Finally, thank you to the 11 volunteers for making the morning so pleasant. We were all lucky to take part in such a nice event)
Aarni ERESMAA, Noora ERESMAA, Raita ERESMAA, Reima ERESMAA, Outi ERESMAA-SILVONEN, Danielle HUTCHINSON, Neil HUTCHINSON, Annicea MADINE, Stuart MCTEER, Pete SCOLLS, Paul WHELAN