With COVID-19 cancelling most of the race plans for this summer it was time to come up with something new. I had postponed race signups as I didn’t have my holiday plans figured out and then all this began and suddenly the race options were very limited.

I knew about Fastest Known Times attempts and started wondering what kind routes and times we had in Finland. Fastest Known Times, or FKTs, are simply the fastest time someone has completed a certain route outside races. Usually these are hiking routes or such, “notable and distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it”. Distances can be anything between a few kilometers to thousands of kilometers. The best collection of FKTs can be found from https://fastestknowntime.com/ but to my surprise there was nothing from Finland. Yet. First thing I could think of was Reitti 2000.

Reitti 2000 map Reitti 2000 route

Reitti 2000 (Route 2000) is the longest marked hiking and biking route in Helsinki metropolitan area. Reitti 2000 passes through the areas of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Vihti. It starts and ends in the Helsinki Central Park at the Laakso’s stables, just a couple of kilometers from where I live. 110km mostly on smaller gravel roads with a bit of paved road and trails mixed in.

Chat clip This is how much effort it took to persuade Jaakko into it.

I tried to find if someone had ran whole Reitti 2000 before but found nothing. While that didn’t prove anything it was good enough excuse to start planning! It was surprisingly difficult to find the map for the route, the city of Helsinki only provides a very rough version of the route. Various gpx tracks can be found from individuals who have cycled it but most had minor changes to the route or the route was split in two or more sections. We wanted it to be as accurate as possible for this. Finally I noticed that the route is on the OpenStreetMaps and that proved to be the best version available.

We ran most of the route in smaller sections as training runs to check if we got the route right. For the most part it was pretty accurate but there are some discrepancies between the map and markings out there. On top of that the route is not always marked clearly.

We set the same date as NUTS Karhunkierros would have been had it not been cancelled. The day before the run we dropped four drop bags with water, gels and some extra snacks along the route. Two were on the loop and the other two were on the part that we’d run both ways. With that the distance between any two drop bags was kept below 20km.

Reitti 2000 start The prestigious starting point of Reitti 2000

On Saturday morning we met in Laakso and started at 9am sharp. First we had to run through the Helsinki central park. It’s one of my favourite nearby places to run especially at this time of the year and the weather was pretty much perfect. After that we had to navigate the “urban section” of the course to Petikko where we had our first drop bag. With plenty of water and gels left and we decided to carry on without stopping. That was 18km from the start and the next one would be only about 10km from this one. First 5km was undulating with small hills and the rest a bit easier.

The second drop bag was in Luukki, just before the crossing for the loop. Filled our water & packed more gels with us and continued with a pretty short break. As always you only think ahead until your next goal, usually an aid station or a drop bag. This time it would be the next drop bag 19km away or 47km from the start. Things went smoothly and we got to the first trail section of the route. Luckily we had done our homework with the route and yet still took the wrong trail once. I blame Jaakko for that, he should have never allowed me to navigate even for a moment 🙂Luckily it added only about 800m as we tracked back to the point we deviated from the correct trail. Having map on Garmin would help but I’m waiting until the next model of Garmin before upgrading.

Jaakko in Nuuksio Somewhere in Nuuksio

The first 50km was uneventful in a good way. Pace was okay, running felt good, nothing really to complain about. That, however, was about to change. Nothing serious but my stomach started hurting a bit. I tried to drink and eat some salt but it didn’t really much. Sometimes it got better for a while and then the pain returned. I’ve been lucky enough to usually avoid any stomach issues but now my next goal wasn’t a drob bag but a toilet. Eventually I got to one but that didn’t help as much as I was hoping for. I think this got me drinking a bit less because I felt like it could make pain worse, in retrospect though not sure if it would have. Soon I noticed I wasn’t drinking enough water and then I wasn’t sure if the dehydration was the cause or the effect of my stomach ache.

Stomach kept acting up for the rest of the trip but all thing considered my legs felt pretty good. I got a bit worried about dehydration after about 10h but with about 2h to go I decided it would be still okay to continue. Had it been a longer run I might have decided otherwise. When we finally reached the last drop bag I knew I’d make it to the finish. Once back in central park I think we even picked up the pace a bit.

In the end the whole thing took 11h 42min 43sec. I’m happy with the time, it was faster than I expected but now I can’t help feeling that it could have been a bit faster had my stomach been better. Then again, maybe there would have been something else to slow me down 🙂 It was also a nice surprise to see Monika at the finish line 😊

The last meters The very last meters in Laakso

As the route is new to fastestknowntime.com this is the first and thus the fastest known time for this route. I’m not expecting to hold this FKT for a long time so go check it out before it’s too late 😅

Reitti 2000 on Fastest Known Time

Run on Strava