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Events & Results
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Difficult Start Hindered Teemu Virtanen’s Record Dreams In The 24-Hour Skiing 

Teemu Virtanen failed to break Hans Mäenpää’s 472-kilometer 24-hour World Record, but he did break the over-40-year-old’s World Record between Thursday and Friday after skiing 443 kilometers in Jyväskylä, Central Finland. 

Photo: Personal Archive

Teemu Virtanen skied the 500 meters track at the Vaajakoski stadium 1049 times. The record attempt got off to a challenging start when Virtanen started without a pacer during the first hours of the effort, as well as, facing a headwind on the stadium and plus degrees during the day. 

“The track got wet quite quickly, and the first six hours were quite tricky with temperature going up to six degrees and there was a quite strong headwind on the stadium. I had a pacer for a few laps at a time at the beginning of the attempt, and the pace immediately increased by 5-10 seconds per lap, but I knew quite early on that it was unlikely to be a new record.” 

Although no new world record was set, Virtanen is happy to have broken his personal 13-year-old record by ten kilometers (433km in 2010). 

How did you motivate yourself to keep going when you knew early on that a new record was unlikely? 

“I got an actual pacer about eight hours in the attempt, and the conditions started to improve, but by then, we were already way behind the record. However, planning this attempt has been on the table for so long, and having been canceled several times; I had promised myself and others that I would ski until the end. Moreover, I wanted to beat my record. Nobody else but Hans (Mäenpää) has been able to double pole more than me, so this is now officially the second-best result and the master skiers’ World Record.” 

During the record attempt, Virtanen did not have time to take any real breaks apart from changing skis. The most extended break lasted about three minutes. Although the last four hours felt heavy, the average speed remained at 19-20 kilometers per hour, except for the last hour. 

After the record attempt, Virtanen felt strongly that the record attempt was his last one, but he had already had time to analyze what should have been done differently. 

“First, I have to thank the organizers for putting this together even though they have no previous experience. A big thank you also to my own service team. Now that one day has passed, I have had time to think about what went wrong. The conditions have a huge impact on the result, the track should have been salted, and one track should have constantly been iced. There should also be a pacer throughout the race. Maybe next year one more time. Now I feel sore, but the recovery is going well. Today I had a rest day, but tomorrow I have to get back on skis,” Virtanen laughs.

Read More: Virtanen’s 24-Hour Skiing World Record Attempt

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Photo: Reichert/NordicFocus
Photo: Reichert/NordicFocus

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