Tartu Maraton 1981. Photo: Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum
On January 16th, 1960 the first ski-hike from Tartu to Kääriku started from Tartu city centre. This was the beginning of one of the most popular public sport event tradition of Estonia – Tartu Maraton.
Within years the small group's skiing trip has grown into a big marathon that brings together thousands of skiers from all over the world. Biggest numbers descend from 1986, when almost 12 000 people registered from all over the Soviet Union.
Tartu Maraton is also known as the Estonian Song Festival of Winter because of its grand proportions and international fame. It brings together thousands of skiing enthusiasts every year from all corners of the world.
The traditional 63 km marathon goes from Otepää to Elva, the shorter 31 km distance starts from Arula and finishes also in Elva. There are also Open Track event, Relay Marathon, races for children and Tartu Maraton Vintage in the programme.
Last year a total of 7040 skiers participated in Tartu Maraton’s events. With a reasonably good winter, organizers expect to see at least 8000 skiers in Tartu Maraton 2020.
The start for the 47th Tartu Maraton’s main races will be given on the 16th of February. More info about the event and registration here: https://www.tartumaraton.ee/ru/events/suusamaraton/47/maraton/
Some historical facts about Tartu Maraton
1960 – Took place for the first time. Course form Tartu to Kääriku
1980 – For the first time as a competition (all participants received start numbers and were ranked). The course turned from Otepää to Tartu
1986 – The greatest number of participants at the finish – 9858. The best sport establishment of Soviet Union
1994 – Became member of Worldloppet
1996 – Open Track events were added to the programme
1997 – 33 km short race was added to program, start was moved to Otepää
1999–2004 – Headquarters of Worldloppet in Tartu
1999 – Title of the Best Tourism Establishment in Estonia by Estonian Association of Travel Agents
2010 – Title of the Best Tourism Establishment in South Estonia by South Estonian Tourism Board
2012 – Tartu Relay Marathon was added to the programme
2013 – Participation record of the last 25 years with over 11 000 registered skiers
2016 – Worldloppet's head office back in Tartu
2019 – Tartu Maraton Vintage was added to the programme