Tickets for the XI European Sauna Marathon in Estonia sold out so fast this year that organisers are giving sauna fans a second chance to grab a limited number of extra team places.
30 extra tickets (for teams of four people) will be on sale at 10am on 15 January at Piletlevi.ee. The price per team will remain the same at €100, which is used to offset the costs of organising the event for Otepää municipality.
Anyone still hoping to take part will need to be quick though.
There was originally meant to be 120 team places for this year’s competition, but they sold out in a record one hour and fifteen minutes when they went on sale on 6 January. Organisers have since received so many requests for additional tickets that they agreed to slightly increase the size of the competition.
This will be the 11th annual European Sauna Marathon to take place in Otepää. Teams are given a map of saunas across the city and surrounding region then must visit them all before returning to the finish line. The ‘marathon’ is not meant to be taken too seriously though. For a start, they’ll need a car to get round all the saunas.
Each team must spend at least three minutes in each leiliruum (hot room). Time is also deducted for jumping in ice holes and hot tubs along the way.
The competition is not just between the teams. The saunas themselves will also be competing for votes as all the teams that complete the course must then vote for their favourite saunas.
Bribery is perfectly acceptable as sauna owners do their best to provide the warmest possible welcome. The winning sauna from last year’s competition was serving delicious smoked pork to competitors.
The rising popularity of the event has been helped by media coverage around the world, including from the BBC and Reuters, which both sent film crews to cover last year’s competition. As a result, some people now travel to Estonia specifically to attend the competition. This helps boost tourism in Otepää during the event, but also raises greater long term awareness about why people should visit the winter capital of Estonia.
However, Otepää is keen to preserve the quality of the event and prevent overcrowding at the saunas by limiting places.
As the centre of Otepää is being redeveloped, registration will take place at Otepää Gymnasium Sports Hall (Mäe 23, Otepää) between 9.00–11.30 a.m then the start line will be on Pühajärve beach.
Here’s a new video report from Postimees below about this year’s European Sauna Marathon. Even if you don’t speak Estonian, you can enjoy seeing what previous competitions were like.
Reporter: Otepää rahvusvahelise saunamaratoni võistluspääsmed müüdi välja ühe tunniga
Selle tunni jooksul registreeris end saunamaratonile 560 saunalist. See on hetkel korraldajate jaoks ka lagi. Kas…
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The Estonian Saunas blog is run by Anni and Adam, explorers and exporters of Estonian saunas. We’re sponsoring the European Sauna Marathon and will also have one of our own special saunas there for everyone taking part.
Our global online store will be launching soon, but we export to the UK at EstonianSaunas.co.uk and also have two saunas in Estonia that are open to visitors and were created with the best of Estonian design and technology — our Tallinn smoke sauna and our Tallinn Airbnb apartment with an e-sauna. We’re also shareholders in HUUM, Estonia’s top designer of sauna stoves and heaters.
In addition to our blog, you can follow our own adventures exploring and exporting Estonian saunas on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. You can also join our Facebook group for fans of Estonian saunas. Email us at email@example.com.