An idea for a Turku leg of The Amazing Race
We spent 10+ hours in the car together on Sunday driving home from Jeremy’s annual 160km ultramarathon in almost-Lapland (he finished with his best time yet!). For one of those hours, to pass the time, we worked together to design a leg of The Amazing Race that would take place in Turku. It would work in summer or winter, with winter being slightly more grueling.
Getting here. We decided to have the teams travel by ferry from Stockholm because it’s unique and interesting and could include gorgeous establishing shots of the Åland Islands as well as Turku Castle right by the arrival harbor.
Collecting the first clue/route info. We were split on having teams just walk to Turku Castle (it’s right by the harbor) or making them ride city bikes along the river to Tuomiokirkko (the cathedral). If at the castle, they’d have to search the grounds for a specific knight/lady who would give them their clue. But having them ride up to Tuomiokirkko (and, say, find the statue of Mikael Agricola) would show off the fact that Turku’s city bikes are the only ones in Finland on offer year-round, with studded tires in winter. Also, the possible optics of TAR teams freaking out about riding bikes on snow/ice while unperturbed Finns pedal around them is delightful to me.
Road Block (only one team member has to complete a task). Avanto (ice swimming), of course! We would have teams head to the Saaro beach/sauna area on Ruissalo island. There, the person completing the road block would need to spend five total minutes immersed up to the neck in the cold/icy water. They can visit the sauna as many times as they want in order to warm up as they accrue time. On TV you’d see some people choosing to just get ‘r done and suffer in the cold water, and others heading back to the sauna every 10 seconds or so. Plus some Finnish lifeguards in puffy winter coats timing them. Great fun!
Detours (two choices). We spent time thinking up cute names for these that I can no longer remember! But to honor Finland’s tradition of orienteering in general, as well as Turku being the hometown of Olympic champion Paavo Nurmi specifically, teams would need to run around in one of two environments: City or Forest. In City, teams would complete a modified Street-O (rogaining) course in which the clues for each checkpoint are given out loud, in Finnish. Teams must remember/repeat the clue out loud in whatever way helps them remember it in order to get to the next place. So at the first stop, a person might tell them “kaupunginkirjasto” and they’d have to repeat it to random passersby clearly enough that they will get pointed in the right direction (the library). Distances are likely to be short but the language barrier and possible social avoidance of random loud foreigners could delay things. In Forest, teams would head to a nearby forest and receive a short training on map/symbol-reading with a member of a local orienteering club. Then the teams would complete an orienteering course in the right order. Distances are longer but if teams pay attention to the training and have good navigating skills, they can move along quickly.
Pit Stop. Vanhalinnavuori (Old Castle Mountain), for sure! I want to have this leg in the winter for avanto reasons, but if it were in summer you could have teams canoe up the river to get there (it takes 60-90 minutes so lots of opportunity for teams to pass each other/stress about making good time). In winter, hmm…might just need to be taxi. But it’s up a huge hill so there could still be drama there!
That’s our idea for The Amazing Race in Turku, Finland!