It’s that time of year again – Quite the challenge if you ask me, but one that these folks take on board with great dedication. The concept – Stay in the sauna the longest and you win. Seems pretty simple really, but when you realise the temperatures they’re playing with, this is no relaxing endeavour. This is an event that works up a great deal of sweat whilst competitors simply sit still.
The 10th Annual Championship took place in Heinola, Finland, over the space of a weekend with 160 men and women from 23 countries pitting their wills against one another. It was to no surprise of the audience, to see the Finns dominate for the 10th year running.
Finnish born Timo Kaukonen won the men’s only event by lasting in the sauna for 3 minutes and 46 seconds. The women’s title was taken by Russian born Tatyana Arkhipenko with an impressive 3 minutes and 9 seconds.
Now you may be scoffing at those times, especially with my use of the word “impressive”. However, please take into account that the saunas they used were heated 110C with half of litre of water being poured onto the stones every 30 seconds! This makes it everything a relaxing sauna isn’t, which is normally heated to around 70-80c.
Organiser Ossi Arvela admits “It’s no fun after two or three minutes. It’s difficult to watch.”