Estonia situates on the north-eastern edge of the European Union, bordering Russia and Latvia and having population of 1,4 million. So it is not surprising that in every local family you find someone who has participated in Tartu Maraton. Estonia is very rich in forests; they cover almost half of Estonia's 45 000 sq km territory. South Estonia is the land of untouched nature, rivers and lakes. Old farmhouses, picturesque villages and pastoral small towns are typical for this part of Estonia. Here the landscape is undulating, split by gently sloping hills and steep valleys. The highest peak (Munamägi Hill 318 m), the deepest lake (Lake Rõuge Suurjärv 38 m), and the longest river in Estonia are situated here. More than a hundred hiking trails have been constructed and numerous view towers have been erected in South Estonia for introducing nature.
Tartu (population of 100 000) is the second largest town in Estonia. The Emajõgi River, flows for the length of 10 kilometres within the city limits and adds colour to the city. Tartu is quite old, with written references dating back to the 11th century. It’s a university town and is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. There’s an aura of academia about the place and students are composing 30% of the city inhabitants.
Otepää (population 2000), the start area of Tartu Maraton, is a major skiing centre and the ‘winter capital’ of Estonia offering various sporting and leisure time activities.
Elva (population 6 000), the finish area, located 25km south of Tartu, is a town of many lakes and pine trees. For sport friends it is mainly known via Tartu Maraton events, which courses are connecting Elva with Otepää. Jogging and cycling routes making it also celebrated summer resort.
Race office is situated permanently in Tartu, only during the race day there is a secretariat on the start and finish areas.
Tartu Maraton 63 km long course starts in Otepää, Tehvandi Ski Stadium, which also hosting every January FIS xc World Cup.
Tartu Maraton course has classical skier friendly profile: it constantly rolls over the hills, having no major steep uphills / downhills or long straight plain parts, making skiing there real pleasure for every healthy person. The course is wide: on the first 4 km there are 12 tracks, during most of the course there 8 tracks and on last part 4 tracks. The course preparation starts with snow period and maintenance of it last until the end of ski season, making of it not only a race track but also a noted xc skiers training facility. As the main part of the course runs in the not populated Otepää Upland’s forests, far away from roads, the artificial snow production is not used.
The finish are of the race is in pine forest of Elva, on the territory of old shooting range.
OTHER SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
Tartu MaratHon is most well known sport event of Estonia, celebrated in 2010 its 50 years anniversary. Tartu Maraton has set example for most of today’s mass sport events in Estonia. Club Tartu Maraton has yearly five events which are the trendsetters of popular sport life here. Season starts in February with Tartu Maraton, continues in May with running event (Tartu Jooksumaraton) and cycling road race (Tartu Rattaralli), fresh up summer in August with inline-skating (Tartu Rulluisumaraton) and finishes in September with MTB race (Tartu Rattamaraton, in 2009 European Championships event). In 2010 these events gathered over 30000 participations (including kids).
Club Tartu Maraton is very proud of its children events that are often found as unique in the sports world. Children events are always held day before the main event. These races are not competitive - all participants get number 1 for starting number, emphasizing that everyone’s participation is more important than winning. All finishers receive diploma, medal and get the real feeling of what popular sport is. All together there were 8037 children participating on Club Tartu Maraton’s events in 2010.
For the webcam go to: http://www.tartumaraton.ee/index.php?sisu=tekst&mid=1809&lang=eng
Tartu, Otepää and Elva are the usual choices for accomodation. The official travel agent is E-Turist. Feel free to contact them for the bus schedules, list of accommodation etc: homepage: http://www.e-turist.ee
There lot of accommodation places available in Tartu sarting from budget and up to 4star hotels. Capcities of startarea Otepää is limited though and must be booked at least 6 months ahead. The possibilities of Elva are also available but modest and must be booked in time.
Online registration for Tartu Maraton events takes place on www.tartumaraton.ee For payment Visa and MasterCards are accepted.
HOW TO GET TO OTEPÄÄ
International airport in Tartu has direct connection with Stockholm and Riga. Airport is situated only 7 km from city centre between the roads which go to Elva and Otepää. Distance between Tartu and Otepää is 42 km, between Tartu and Elva is 25 km. There is good bus connection from Tartu with both destinations. The organizers offer a bus transport from Tartu to the start (Otepää) on the morning of the race day, and transport from the finish to Tartu and Otepää.
Tallinn has aerial connections with most European cities. From Tallinn bus station Express buses take you to Tartu in about 2,5 hours, some buses also directly to Otepää. The regular buses for Otepää leave from Tartu Central Bus Station. The train from Tallinn to Tartu lasts also about 2,5 hours.
Riga Airport is also usual choice for traveling to Tartu as driving here takes only 3 hours.
Club Tartu marton Website in English: http://www.tartumaraton.ee/index.php?lang=eng
Club Tartu Maraton website in Russian: http://www.tartumaraton.ee/index.php?lang=rus
Club Tartu Maraton website in Finnish: http://www.tartumaraton.ee/index.php?lang=fin