Last weekend we participated to a fantastic event for families in Helsinki: the Minimarathon. If this is the first time you hear about it, you can hop back to this post or visit the event’s official website. We were blessed by an early summer day and enjoyed sunshine all day long. Even though it was possible to visit the event’s office the day before, we opted for an early rise and went to sign up on the same day’s morning. I was afraid there would be a big queue, but that wasn’t the case. The organisers welcomed all participants with a beautiful t-shirt, her competition bib, and this bag of goodies:
The starting point was located in the sports’ field Eläintarhan kenttä, not far from the ice skating hall in the Helsinki city centre. Kids were distributed in age groups, the oldest (13 year olds) starting at 9am and the youngest (5 year olds and younger) running last. We had a couple of hours to kill, but there were plenty of activities to pick from. Even though there were over a thousands registered participants with their families, the place didn’t look crowded. Probably many reached the place close to their starting time, so my family could truly enjoy all games and activities without wasting much time in line. Sponsors gave away gadgets and snacks. Both E and R ran, jumped, and played like crazy for the whole morning!
One of the cutest moments was watching E hugging the sponsor mascots Paula and Nalle. When he joined our family last year, he was utterly terrified of mascots and costumes. Despite being a passionate Moomin fan, the first time we met someone in a Moomin Troll costume, he ran for safety. Observing his confidence and sweetness last weekend reminder me of all the progress we’ve seen in him in a year.
The funniest (well, tragicomic) moment was E demanding to queue for over thirty minutes just to jump one minute on a trampoline at the Rush stand. “Do you really want to queue that long for something we have at home as well?”, I asked. “This one is different”. Usually, this little guy struggles to be still or chill. I was astonished to observe he did not blink or leave his position while queuing. I yet cannot decide if I am amused or annoyed!
We had made the foolish mistake of packing a too small snack, but luckily there was a lovely cafe serving snacks, coffee, and juice. Both kids needed some boost after the hard work. Next year packed lunch is something to keep in mind (look at me, using my blog posts as reminder lists).
R was very excited to watch the start of other groups. Before each one, a presenter would entertain the crowd with some easy fitness exercises. Our favourite activities out in the field included hitting targets with balls, being challenged to some exercises, and a jump-and-run trail.
I want to underline that this event is not only inclusive on age’s perspective, but language as well. The event’s website is fully translated into English, and the presenter translated all announcements and entertainment in English as well. Looking around, I saw plenty of multicultural families and heard several languages spoken. If you, like me, are not fluent in Finnish, you surely know how stressful it can be for parents to take part to family events and feel not in control, as it’s hard to follow instructions. This event was truly accessible to international families: kudos to the organisers!
Another aspect we appreciated was the relaxed atmosphere of the run itself. I spotted some parents who had kids in different age groups but took both to one. Others were running with strollers! Parents were allowed to take part along with the kids, if they wanted (at no additional cost). R’s turn came at 11 am, she was in the last group. Daddy and E left to go wait for us at the Finish line. The whole run was 1 km long. We ran through a park and cut the Finish line at the Helsinki Telia 5G Arena.
R ran most of the time and she walked when she was tired. There was no timing and no stress, and all participants got a medal.
R was beyond excited. She commented, “I want to do this every year!”. She insisted on wearing the t-shirt and the medal for days and showed them to everyone at home and school. After the run, kids got snacks from the sponsors: fruit bars, dried fruit, pudding, juice. We had a quick bite before heading to lunch.
After watching the event first hand, I can confidently say E (now 3 years old) would have been able to take part and I’d like him to, next year. Speaking of next year, I encourage you to mark your calendar with the next Minimarathon date: May 18th, 2019. Make sure to follow Helsinki Minimarathon on Instagram and Facebook, to access to special early bird discounts. We will not miss this fantastic event next year and neither should you!
This post is fruit of a collaboration between me and the Minimarathon’s organisers. Opinions are mine and sincere. Read more about my work values here.