Simo Kurko, founder of Kaldoaivi Ultra Trail

Why did you choose to begin such an event in Kaldoaivi?

In Kaldoaivi, I was most impressed by the vastness, harshness and beauty of the wilderness. The nature is incredibly diverse and beautiful. There are big fells, water crossings, and a very unique fairytale forest filled with birch trees that participants will experience. The village of Nuorgam is a really small and quiet place where the locals received me really well. I am very grateful for that

What has made you continue organising the Kaldoaivi Ultra Trail?

I have been convinced from the beginning that there is something special here. In my opinion, the event has great potential because of the wonderful nature and energetic atmosphere. We have received a lot of praise and positive feedback, so it has helped us continue to make the event happen. We want to offer a special nature experience and a memorable event. There have often been tears in the eyes of both participants and members of the organisation at the finish line. Overcoming and surpassing yourself is the salt of exercise. The event trips with an incredibly hard organization group have been tough, but memorable.

How has the competition grown over time? 

The competition has grown every year. In the first year, the number of participants was limited to 150. In 2023, there were a record 400 participants. We're hoping to increase it in 2024. 

What attracts participants to Kaldoaivi and why do you think it stands out from other competitions?

I think Kaldoaivi Ultra Trail stands out from other events because it's such a unique experience in nature. We pay attention to each participant and try to make the event experience as great as possible for them. There is space and peace on the trails of Kaldoaivi to focus on one's own performance, so the nature experience is extraordinary.

What have been the most memorable moments in the history of the Kaldoaivi Ultra Trail?

One finish comes to mind the most, when a woman crossed the finish line after 130 km of mountain biking. You could see that all her strength was spent and her son ran to hug his mother. Both of them were crying,8 and all the members of the organisation present had tears in their eyes. The sun was just setting and a song appropriate to the situation was playing in the background. I remember this moment vividly. That's why we do this!

What are your thoughts about the future of Kaldoaivi Ultra Trail?

We want to be the spearhead of events in the northernmost part of Finnish Lapland. The aim is to grow the event a little more, but in such a way that each participant is taken into account. We want to offer everyone a memorable exercise experience in the midst of unique nature. We listen closely to feedback from participants and strive to meet their wishes.

What do you expect from the 2024 race and what's new?

The renewal of next summer's event will be an event organised for children and young people, where participants can practice mountain biking under the guidance of experienced cyclists. A 9km long nature trail in Nuorgam is also available for children and young people. A medal and refreshments await at the finish line.

Also new for next summer is the 85km electric bike series. I hope the batteries last!

I'm looking forward to an energetic mood and overcoming myself again. In 2022, I covered all the routes of the event in one go. The total distance was 503km and it took a good 30 hours to complete.

How do you balance your day job with organising the competition?

This has required some getting used to and managing the calendar. The event has always taken place during my annual vacation, so my own vacation has sometimes been a little short. The weeks around the event are quite tough and the days are long. Last year, I tried to share what I'm doing more with others in the organisation as well. I still really enjoy doing the event.