Paavo Nurmi is alongside Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis as one of the only athletes in the world to have won 9 gold medals. The legacy of Turku’s son, Paavo Nurmi, is given due respect with Finland’s largest sports event, the Paavo Nurmi Festival, held in the city every summer, the highlight being the athletics competition the Paavo Nurmi Games.
In 2017 the Paavo Nurmi Games becomes an affiliated part of the international IAAF World Challenge league and thus Turku automatically joins the global athletics circuit. During the season, top athletes from around the world compete in 14 competitions, taking in such cities as Beijing, Berlin, Madrid, Melbourne – and now also Turku.
The Paavo Nurmi Games brings to Turku hundreds of competitors and a full grandstand audience. In the 2017 competition you will be able to see finalists and medal winners from the Rio 2016 Olympics, for example. Despite the global stars on show the attention of the Finnish public is naturally fixed on the Finnish stars’ efforts to contest the world’s finest.
Organised as part of the Paavo Nurmi Festival are the Paavo Nurmi Junior & Master Games, bringing many promising young athletes to the field – double the number participating in the main event. Also competing are athletes – ages 35-100 – participating in the Master’s series.The juniors and the masters compete on the same site as the professionals, so the atmosphere of a major sporting event is guaranteed.
The Mehukatti Paavo Sports Day is a free, family event that gives the opportunity to play and experiment with competitions at the Paavo Nurmi Stadium.
Paavo Nurmi Marathon
The whole city wins as the Paavo Nurmi Festival gets a fitting conclusion, when 4,000 runners from around the world follow in the footsteps of the legend. One of Finland’s largest marathon events reaches 25-years as it powers through the centre of Turku and the beautiful nature of Ruissalo Island on 1st July.
The goal of the Paavo Nurmi Marathon is to reach the bronze level of the International Association of Athletics (IAAF). This means higher participation of international contestants and a tougher standard for the top runners. Alongside the world’s elite on the starting line are thousands looking to complete the 10 km, half-marathon and marathon distances.