Jyrki Ruohomäki did not know what to expect from the Karhu Tour when he applied for the potential adventure back in 2012. He ran his marathon PR in Boston the year before and the experience made him want to know more about, and be a part of the city’s running culture and community. As the Karhu Tour kicked off and finished in Boston, it was the perfect opportunity. Even though Finland and Boston are worlds apart, Ruohomäki started to see many similarities in the training of local runners and the routines blended quite naturally. It was validating to Ruohomäki to see so many commonalities, after all, he says, "Running is running no matter where you're from." In the US, the running communities are naturally created around their local run specialty stores. A lot of runners come and go, making friends and memories.
"After a group run people would go to the bar in their running clothes. I have never seen that in Finland." Ruohomäki continues, "It was really nice atmosphere at each group run. People were sharing their stories and goals while enjoying a beer, there is no such thing in Finland." In Finland, people are used to just going out to run without a special reason. It's what they are used to do and have done all their lives: running is like an element of Finns. In the States it seems that many people are starting to run to accomplish their goals such as losing weight or alleviate pressure from the work. Regardless of the reason people start running, it is a more social activity in the US than in Finland.
Bostonians have done great job creating their culture and habits around running using their own colors: Ruohomäki recalls a race called Yulefest 5K where runners were dressed to celebrate their local event and compete with each other at the race. As soon as the race was over, they started to share their stories and beers all the same. "I just ran 10k last Sunday in Jyväskylä. It was rather quiet afterwards, compared to races I did in Boston during the Karhu Tour three years ago," smiles Ruohomäki.