The seventh parkrun in Finland – Mattilanniemi parkrun – will start on May 27th in the heart of Finland, Jyväskylä.
We are a growing city right in the middle of Finland with about 140 000 people. We live in the middle of forested hills and are known for our university, athletics, rally driving and for hosting many conferences and events. Our city encircles a lake which is part of one of the biggest and most iconic systems of lakes in Finland, Päijänne. At the other end of this lake lies Vääksy and Lahti, which both host parkrun events. It is thus appropriate that also the northern tip of Päijänne now will have its own parkrun event. We are Jyväskylä, the capital of sports, and we are excited to welcome the seventh parkrun of Finland.
Jyväskylä is defined by being a central hub of Finland and by its lakes and hills. Major north-south highways meet at the heart of the city, and the city is blessed by picturesque views of lakes in nearly every direction. The city is also defined by its university, which hosts a world-renown athletics institute. The parkrun route captures all these features of Jyväskylä. We run three loops along the shore of lake Jyväsjärvi, through a forested path, the beautiful Ylistö bridge and adjacent to the Ylistö- and Mattilanniemi- campuses of University of Jyväskylä. Most of our route follows “Rantaraitti”, which is the most popular running and walking route in Jyväskylä.
Mattilanniemi parkrun has been a long time in the making. Throughout the past few years, many people have stepped forward to help make it happen. Some of us have been seasoned parkrunners, who hoped to help build a new community in Jyväskylä. Others first heard of parkrun here in Jyväskylä. We all share the desire to bring about a weekly, exciting and encouraging sports event. As one of our participants put it: “parkrun is a unique opportunity to experience the excitement of a running competition, for free and casually every Saturday!”.
Spring is a time of year which has special meaning to the people of Nordic countries. Months of cold, dark, ice and snow give way under the ever warmer rays of the sun. Given the northern latitudes and the short growing season, it seems nature is almost rushed in its enthusiasm to push out new shoots of plants. A Finnish spring hymn sung at school graduation celebrations says: “Kauniisti joka paikkaa koristaa kukkanen” – “A blossom decorates each corner”. The longer and warmer days also bring about a change in people. Jackets are thrown into the closet, and shorts taken out. Many start running and walking again. The late spring start of Mattilanniemi parkrun on May 27th invites all to start the summer with a new regular running and walking routine.
parkrun is new to Jyväskylä. During even a brief walk on the paths of Rantaraitti, one sees several runners, walkers and joggers. We hope that many of them will find our event and join us regularly to run and move together. Being a new event, in a new place, we know we will start small. But, as it has time and again in other cities and communities, we expect to grow through word of mouth and over time. You may help us here, by joining us in our starting event, and by sharing the event with your friends, colleagues and within your community!
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