84 days for the Jukola relay

Porvoo Borgå Jukola 2023 course setter’s blog


Snow melting and maps ready – towards Porvoo Borgå Jukola

When we were asked a few years ago about our willingness to become course setters in Porvoo Borgå Jukola, we didn’t hesitate for a second. We have a background in setting orienteering courses from almost 30 years. Being a course setter of the Jukola relay is a honorary task for all of us involved in the work and, of course, one of the dreams for any course setter. The task is demanding, and the responsibility is big, but we also feel that we have also received a position of trust from both our own club and Kaukametsäläiset ry, which owns the organizing rights for Jukola.

Pasi Liitiäinen, who works many hours as the chair of the Map and course committee, has created a framework for our work. Pasi is well-known orienteering activist from eastern Uusimaa. For the two of us, Jani Virta and Mikael Salo have also been appointed as substitutes. Mikael is also responsible for the Jukola relay training courses, which have been in use in Karhunkorpi, Norike and Virvik areas already last year, and will be in use again after the snow has melted. This group of five is the core group that knows exactly where the Venla and Jukola relay courses will run in June 2023.

The planning of the Jukola and Venla relay courses was launched in 2019–2020 after OK Trian was determined to organize the race already in 2022. However, the corona pandemic famously postponed the race a year later.

All Jukola relay control points were marked in the terrain during June and July 2022, when they were also inspected by the race’s course controller. The approval of the control points was the starting point for the final finishing and final drawing of the courses. This, perhaps the most accurate phase of the entire course-setting work, took place at the end of 2022. The maps were printed and personalized by Grano Ltd. in February 2023, after which they have been enclosed in plastic covers and sorted into team maps, four for Venla and seven for jukola relays. Personalization refers to the section-specific marking according to the competition number of the maps, for example, “Venla relay 2023, team 123, 3rd leg”. Thanks to modern printing technology, personalization can be done very quickly with a printing machine directly on the blank side of the race map. SInce the Venla and Jukola relays consists of many different courses and maps, we invested in personalization with special care.

The maps sorted by teams are pre-arranged in team-specific map covers, which will eventually be placed on the map exchange racks in the exchange area. At the same time, it is checked once again that the different teams have such a map combination that the forking described above is fulfilled. After that, the maps are stored in a safe place to wait for the relay race itself in the summer. The return maps given to the teams after the race serve as a “safety stock” in case of damage and accidents and are stored in a different location from the competition maps. Both, of course, in secret safe places.

In addition to the course setting itself, we have done work in the competition terrain with our awesome volunteer group in other ways as well. The construction of the control points and TV broadcasting platforms, which took place in the autumn of last year, was carried out within its planned schedule by a separate group of builders. Around 550 individual control structures were built, as the individual control have several punching units due to the large number of orienteers.

The competition map covering an area of over 15 square kilometers in Porvoo Borgå Jukola was mapped by one of Finland’s best map drawer professionals, Jussi Silvennoinen. Since the first version was completed already in 2020, there have been needs for updates, especially regarding harvesting, as well as the description of runnability.  When we had the courses ready in practice, it was essential to consider the exact correspondence of the map to what orienteers can observe in the terrain with different route selection options and what kind of route choices they can make. This is especially important in night orienteering, although usually most of the observations on the map are made with light. We already had a top-quality orienteering map in our hands last year, but the need for updates has just come for different reasons. In our next blog, we will then open in more detail what the terrain of Porvoo Borgå Jukola will offer orienteers.

Stefan & Pekka


Porvoo Borgå Jukola 2023 course-setter

Stefan Karlsson

turns 52 this year
Expert in automation and optimization at Neste Corporation, Doctor of Science (Tech.)
Orienteered around 30 Jukola relays, first in Tampere in 1986
Part of Jukola relay 1995 course setting group
Course setter in the Finnish championships (extralong distance) 1998, FinnSpring 2012, Relay league final 2022, many Raatojuoksu -competitions and other national competitions


Pekka Vuorinen

turns 63 this year
Director, Environment and Energy, M.Sc. (Tech.) at the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT
orienteered 37 Jukola relays, first in Laitila in 1985
Course setter in the Finnish Championships (extralong distance) in 2007, several Huippuliiga sprints, FSOM 2014, Relay league final 2022 and several other national competitions