The work of Porvoo Borgå Jukola’s course-setter are progressing on schedule. With great volunteer work,
the extensive bagging and sorting of maps has been completed and all the maps are already in their team
bags. The course-setters have extensively reviewed the forking imposed on the different teams once more
before the final inspection by the controllers. Next, Stefan Karlsson and Pekka Vuorinen will move on to the
competition terrain to check the control points and their structures after winter. Before that, it was nice to
challenge the friends to a long control interval, with a small battery of questions.
Age and where do you come from?
Stefan: 52 years, I’m from Sipoo (Sibbo in Swedish), where I’ve been living almost all the time except for
my years of studying in Turku and a couple of years elsewhere.
Pekka: 63 years. I spent first 58 years in Porvoo but now live in my fifth year in Pohjois-Nikinmäki, Vantaa,
50 meters from the border with Sipoo.
The first Jukola experience?
Stefan: Snowfall in Kankaanpää’s Jukola in 1975. At the age of 4, I was following Jukola for the first time. I
had to wait 11 years before I got to the terrain in Kaanaa Jukola in 1986. Since then, I have run, organized
or been on site almost every year.
Pekka: Laitila Jukola 1985 in Tulejärvi, where my friend Thomas Nyholm lured an adult, green-nosed man
directly from the icy playing grounds. I was nervous as hell; there was in team Akilles OK 3 a second last
14.4 km leg in front of me and I hadn’t even run that long on the street. The experience was addictively
awesome; the show still continues.
The best Jukola memories
Stefan: There are a lot of memories along the way, but Iso-Syöte Jukola 1988 has stuck in my mind for many
reasons – great terrain, starting point. We forgot our tent’s poles at home, but luckily the tent site was in
the woods, so our tent was hanging from the branches. I represented for the first time in Sibbo Vargarna
(Sipoo Wolves) first team ranked 59 th and we won with a very young team (4 juniors and 1 senior) Akilles OK
in a couple of minutes. It should be mentioned that in addition to me, the Porvoo Borgå-Jukola map and
course committee leader Pasi Liitiäinen ran in Sibbo Vargana. Similarly, my course-setter colleague Pekka
Vuorinen as well as Ove Simosas, who in Porvoo Borgå Jukola has handled the landowner permits, ran in
team Akilles OK.
Pekka: all Jukola relays stay in the memories because the weekend is just such a great event as a whole.
That atmosphere and my own performance in the company of other orienteers; a new experience expected
every year. But perhaps the coolest thing of all was to see our elite young orienteers, anchored by Otto
Simosas, cross the finish line of Lappee-Jukola 2016 in 12th place. It was a real top performance from a
team that blew it together nicely. We older orienteers were really proud Trianians then.
Your best Jukola performance?
Stefan: Jämi Jukola 2004, even though the terrain was not "my terrain". The anchor leg went well apart
from a couple of very minor mistakes, losing less than seven minutes to the overwhelming top two Thierry Gueorgiou and Emil Wingstedt. The best team ranking is 29th from 2010, but my own performance was very poor then.
Pekka: My best performance is anchoring the superb Luosto Jukola in 1994 with the 37 th best time of the 7 th
leg. Looking at the result list and noticing the names of well-known runners, I realized that I had done very
well. Akilles OK was 60 th in the post at the time. My best best ranking is 31 st with Akilles OK in Vehkalahti in
When was the first time you were a course-setter?
Stefan: At the age of 12, I did my first courses for serial orienteering in my own village. The level was tough
in these Box village orienteering competitions: just as an example local orienteers have reached a World
Championships, several Nordic championships medals and five Boxers have achieved more than thirty
Finnish championships in total in different forms of orienteering. It sparked for course-setting: serial
orienteering events in our village, club trainings and weekly fitness orienteering events. In 1990 I was the
course-setter at the district scout championships and a couple of years later it was time for first national
competitions. I’ve been a course-setter or assistant course-setter in over thirty competitions. I made my
first ‘Jukola tracks’ already in 1984 in Söderkulla terrain, and now almost 40 years later I can say that with
small changes they could also be run today.
Pekka: I think my enthusiasm for course-setting came after Jukola in Hollola in 1987, when I started to
study forking systems and then, more broadly, the performances of top orienteers in prestigious
competitions on different course-setters’ courses. When the orienteering career started at the age of 25,
so did the duties of a course-setter with tasks of various levels, from club training to national competitions,
both individual and relays. The first very demanding task was the Finnish Championships of extra-long
distance in 2007 in Karhunkorpi, Porvoo, right next door to our Jukola terrain. As contrast to it have been
setting courses of different sprint orienteering competitions, which I also like a lot.
When have you gotten to know each other in course-setting?
Pekka: certainly better at FinnSpring in Sipoo 2012. It was also a test competition for European
championships. Stefan was the course-setter of the individual competition and I was the course controller
representing OK Orient. Spring was late and Sipoonkorpi was really covered with snow a week before the
race. The snow melted, but it was a lot of rapping and fighting for the orienteers. It really annoyed that
Stefan’s top courses suffered in this way.
Stefan: see Pekka’s answer.
What is it about course-setting that hooks and gives satisfaction?
Stefan: Giving a challenge to orienteers. As a course-setter, you have to weigh up what a good course and
control intervals are like. Whenever I move in forests, I look at good places for control points. If an
orienteer learns something new about the courses or the competition as an orienteer or as a person, then
the course-setter has succeeded. It can be a small or bad mistake, a successful route choice, new power
traits or mental forces. As a course-setter, one also hopes that the best will be hard hit both skillfully and
physically, and that the spectators will be able to enjoy a good and exciting race.
Pekka: as course-setters, we are in service, and the customer is a demanding orienteer looking for new
orienteering challenges and experiences. With that challenge, it’s always great to go out into forests with a
new map to set courses for elites as well as for the youngest and age orienteers, all with the same lust.
Finland is full of different orienteering terrains, and all course-setters strive to offer the best for orienteers
from their own starting points and the opportunities offered by the terrain. Of course, the most exciting and addictive thing about choosing the Jukola control points with Stefan in Epoo’s wilderness has been the fact that in June, the best orienteers in the world will punch at those control points, followed by an unimaginable number of great orienteering fans.
Knowing the workload of Porvoo Borgå Jukola, would you accept such a challenge now?
Stefan: of course, I heard that Kaukametsäläiset is looking for organizers for 2027 and 2028. Hopefully the
club has applied now when we are in full speed. With a good organization, this is easy.
Pekka: right away. This is done in cooperation with a carefully thought-out group, where everyone has their
own place. We all have our civilian work, but in the end the workload is not at all unreasonable, as the huge
help is provided by enthusiastic volunteers, for example, in the construction of control points and the huge
work of bagging maps. A deep salute to everyone and, of course, first to the head of the map and course
committee, Pasi Liitiäinen.
How many hours have been spent on the duties of a Jukola course-setter?
Stefan: There are many hundreds of hours of meetings, more than a hundred terrain visits, even more
hours in front of the computer, and "short" everyday glances at the map and all the days in six years
(except for those days when I’ve been on a trip and then the secret map hasn’t been with nme). From this,
then everyone can calculate those hours for themselves.
Pekka: the bills got messed up a long time ago and it doesn’t matter. As an Excel genius, Stefan has done
plus something compared to me. Stefan certainly agrees with me that such a challenge is just so great
overall that it doesn’t matter the hours. Both of us, subjectively speaking, have demanding "civilian work"
to take care of, but at least I get a bit of enthusiasm for everything I do for Jukola. We are not running out
of energy, and certainly not even after Jukola.
Describe yourself as a course-setter?
Stefan: My own course-setting philosophy has changed over the years. In the past, I perhaps placed more
emphasis on the control points and the "hiding" of the flags, but nowadays the focus has perhaps shifted
more to the route choice. Of course, the placement of the flag is still important: the flag should not shine
from a hundred meters away. The goal is that if I myself do not know how to run, then probably the control
interval has been successful. I’ve always been more of a skill orienteer, but I also value high physical
qualities. These elements in balance can be seen on my courses, hopefully also in this year’s Porvoo-Borgå
Jukola, although these relays are different from the usual national competitions.
Pekka: the big challenge for a course-setter is always the terrain that is available; you just have to get the
best out of it. When I see a orienteering map, a sketch always appears on it right away, which in the end is
very close to the final one. Naturally, the starting point for all course setting is an accurate review of the
terrain, as the course setter must know what the orienteer encounters with each control and intervals of all
courses. Personally, I’m aiming for challenging orienteering tasks that are constantly changing, changing
rhythms for running and surprising in control picking. Not all control intervals, be it long or short, need to
be most demanding, as this can attract orienteers to overspeed and loss of attention. That is then followed
by something else. The big thing about working with Stefan has been the continuous learning, as I myself
have been a "lone wolf" in the past. In my opinion, in Porvoo Borgå Jukola, we have succeeded in
combining the best expertise of both of us, also taking into account the terrain.
You both are long thin orienteer-looking fellows. So, it must be asked about your favorite food?
Stefan: Italian cuisine, especially homemade pasta and porcini risotto, always sinks in.
Pekka: all food prepared together, requiring a little bit more effort, made from high-quality, typically
domestic ingredients. And dessert weakness is Paula’s oven-hot cinnamon buns and cold milk. Already 63
but I still haven’t learned to eat moderately….
Finally, greetings from the course-setters to Venlas and Jussis?
Stefan: let’s go to and come out from the forest happily. Hopefully, we can offer orienteering experiences
for everyone, both top and newcomers. Only one team can win the competition, but "winning oneself is
the first and best of victories" (Plato).
Pekka: remember to be in the toughest running shape of the summer and have the idea of orienteering at
its sharpest on June 17-18. Say hi before the race, and hi happily after the race. And you can also come and
talk, still before and after the race. Course-setters are always hoping for feedback. Welcome to Porvoo!