Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mega Enonsaari Challenge 5K charity swim

Something special happened in Lahti, Finland today: the first Mega Enonsaari Challenge. It's a new endurance event with a different concept. It's not a race, but a friendly 5K swim to raise awareness for the Let's Save Lake Vesijärvi campaign.

My Ambit measured 5.27 km in 1h57min. My actual swim time was a few mins less, but who cares! 
13 swimmers swam from Sibelius Hall waterfront to Enonsaari island in Lake Vesijärvi. The route was a little over 5 km and it took us a little under 2 hours. The pace was kept relaxed and easy as this was a fun swim.

Yours truly posing in front of event/sponsor logos. [Photo E.Asikainen]
The start was 10am and by noon everyone was already finished. Except four brave swimmers, who swam back, totalling over 10K! I wasn't one of them. Although the weather was sunny and nice 16-18C with a weak wind, I got a bit cold in the 17C water. Apparently I need to get faster or fatter!

13 swimmers a moment before start. Moi down front. [Photo: E.Asikainen]
A lake rescue motorboat and several canoes assisted the swimmers to guarantee their safety. Fortunately everyone felt fine and there were no problems.

And there we go! [Photo: E.Asikainen]
The event was absolutely free for participants, but they had to carry a sponsor logo inside their wetsuits to the island. As the swimmers arrived, the logos were revealed to the small audience gathered at the finish. Then there was a free lunch for all!

Lake rescue motorboat arrives to the start place in the morning.

The event was successful in attracting attention for the lake water campaign. Local press covered the event already.

Enonsaari is a beautiful natural island and a popular summer tourist attraction in Lahti.
Enonsaari is a really nice summer destination. Most visitors choose to arrive by boat though :)

The local canoe paddlers did a good job for the good cause. 
Once again I hid my Ambit in my swim cap. The GPS data shows that we started very slow and easy. We took a lot of breaks in the beginning to make sure everyone felt fine. The second and fifth kilometers were pretty fast. Km's 3-4 were easy long swim pace.

This is a nice view from the finish area.
The group didn't manage to stay together until the end. It was ok, as there were enough canoes for each subgroup.

Our destination looked like this from the lake. Only a few hundred meters left! 
The lake is really bigger than it looks and 5 km is a long way to swim I learned today. Although we could see the island all the way, it just didn't seem to get any closer no matter how hard I swam!

Most of us returned in the speed boat that can travel 60 km/h. 4 chose to swim back!
The trip back to Lahti was fun in the speedy Lake Rescue boat! 60 km/h feels pretty fast after swimming about 2.5 km/h.

Lake Vesijärvi is big and beautiful. 111 square km of awesomeness.
The lake water wasn't very clear, but it seemed to be ok to swim in. There wasn't too much blue algae due to the cold summer we've had. It would have been nice to swim in warmer water, but then there would have been more algae.

We swam beside the long row of Lahti's lakeside apartment houses.
Lahti is only 104 km from my hometown Helsinki, but apartments are much cheaper there. Still most people prefer to live in Helsinki, if they can afford it.

The starting area in front of Sibelius Hall.
Sibelius Hall is a good example for modern Finnish architecture. The architects are said to have been inspired by the mystique of Finnish forests. The concert house is mainly made of wood.

The swim cap for the event.
What a nice day. This was my longest open water swim ever. I'm already looking forward to next year's event!

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