From Helsinki this month we interviewed Jari Leino. Born in the Finland capital, he is a 35 years old supervisor in prepress company, and has been running regularly for the last year and a half (before that, only every now and then). Jari does not belong to a specific club, but runs alone, training three times per week and covering approximately seven kilometers for intervals, ten to recovery and fourteen to twenty-two kilometers for long runs, always on the same out-and-back course.
Before his runs, Jari drinks a carbohydrate drink, without eating anything special, although his favourite pre-race dish is escalloped macaroni. In Finland runners run in all types of weather conditions: summertime is usually 25 degrees Celsius and winter is 25 below. "We run when is hot, when is cold and everything else in between" - says Jari - "but my favorite climate to run in is when it is sunny, 15 degrees". These extreme conditions affect running. Sometimes in the winter it is, in fact, too cold. "Last winter I did run in 20 degrees below zero. That was almost too cold". Depending on the season, Finnish runners wear at the time many layers of clothes, and in general this is the only advice for a visiting runner as well: in the winter dress warm! Jari personally owns three pairs of running shoes, one of which with studs. He runs with a water bottle when he is running over an hour. His clothes have reflective stripes, very useful in Finland. "I also use Polar 210 heart rate monitor. After the run I write the distance heart rates and calories burned into the Polar Personal Trainer. We have here a nice way to measure distance on the internet: you can draw your route into a map and it tells you how much you ran. The address is www.oikotie.fi/default?exit=map".
Jari runs and listens to no music. He keep himself up-to-date by reading running magazines. Running in Finland is popular both for men and women, featuring new records every year in number of marathoners. Not too many run with dogs. No religious activities, cultural activities or philosophies, taboos affect running in Finland, however Jari reports as "hazards" wild animals on the course: "My mother runs often into a moose or a snake while running near our summerhouse. In my neighborhood instead I might race a rabbit".
Jari runs also in organized races, usually varying from 10 kilometers to the half marathon. The cost for a marathon (the "Helsinki City Marathon") is approximately 50 Euro (50 U.S. dollars). Prizes consist in race packets, medals and diplomas for every participant. Water, sport drinks and bananas are usually offered at the refreshment points along a race. Jari participated also in races outside Helsinki. He ran in the countryside (in Iisalmi and in Mäntyharju) and recently also in Maspalomas (Spain). This last experience was different: it offered him very nice and long beaches ("and possible nude runners!"). In his running career he ran one marathon and one half marathon: the "Helsinki City marathon" in August 2002 and the "Helsinki Halfmarathon" in May 2002. His times were 4:17.53 (chiptime) and 1:48.04 for half. His first marathon in Helsinki is so far his favorite run.
Run The Planet would like to thank Jari Leino from Finland for taking part in the Planeteer Spotlight.