Finnish trail running statistics 2016


Bodom Trail in the beginning of May was the biggest trail run with 1051 runners. Photo: Poppis Suomela

Trail running participation in Finland keeps growing at a fast pace. During 2016, ever more runners found from road to trails, new events were born and, unlike in many road runs, the most popular events continued to grow.

According to the statistics maintained by, in 2016 there were alltogether 110 trail running events in Finland, an increase of 47% from 2015. The total amount of runners who started in these events was 14552, coincidentally also increasing 47% year on year. This makes trail running one of the fastest growing fitness & outdoor activities of the year in Finland. Compared to the 100% participation growth from 2014 to 2015, the 2016 percentage is more moderate but the absolute growth numbers are on the same level, i.e. about 5000 new event participations. We predict the trend line to point up also in 2017.

The exact amount of trail runners in Finland remains unknown but we can extrapolate that using the participant statistics of Buff Trail Tour Finland that connects seven major events to a series. In each event of the series, one distance gives points to the Trail Tour. Altogether, 1650 runners scored points 2240 times, equalling to average 1,36 events per runner. Dividing the total of 14,5k event participants with 1,36, we land at the conclusion that 10000-11000  Finns participated an organised trail running event in 2016. On top of this are those runners who run on trails without signing up to events.

The amount of participants and events grew at equal pace, meaning that the average size of trail running events remained on 2015 level, i.e. 132 runners. The most popular events continued to grow but there were many new local events that attracted few tens of  runners.

The biggest trail run in 2016 was Bodom Trail with 1051 runners on the starting line. This was the first trail event in Finland breaking the barrier of thousand runners. On the newcomer list, pole position went with 432 participants to Kotka Trail that successfully introduced trail running to the South-Eastern coastal area of Finland. There were also several local trail cups of 3-6 events in different cities around the country. In line with 2015, the biggest was Tampere Trail Cup that recorded almost 600 starts in six runs during April and May.

Probably the most astonishing trail running phenomenon in 2016 was NUTS Karhunkierros: In total 849 runners succesfully challenged themselves on the legendary trails of Oulanka national park. What makes this so remarkable is that for most participants, it is by no means around the corner. Majority of runners came from Helsinki area, over 800km away from the event. The finishers completed 42603 kilometers in total on 31-160km courses, a class of its own among Finnish trail running events. Also the participant experience was on top level and it pays off: Despite of the bigger participant quota (1600), the 2017 event was sold out in record time. (Note, there are still some slots for international participants.) This is a strong indication of a continuing growth of trail running in Finland.

10 biggest trail runs in Finland 2016
(collected from result lists, may differ from the amount of registered and started runners)
Event Participants


Bodom Trail



Helsinki City Trail



NUTS Karhunkierros



Vaarojen Maraton



NUTS Pallas



Nuuksio Classic Trail Marathon



Kotka Trail






Sipoonkorpi Trail



Helsinki Trail Run



NUTS Karhunkierros is a perfect combination of beautiful nature, tough physical challenge and great company. Photo: NTRNZ Media (screen capture from the event video)