One of the things I very much like about running is how much of an exploratory activity it can be.

I’d still say that you shouldn’t travel to far-away places just to run a race or see a wild place, if you really care about the world.

Still, if you have good reasons to go, then make the best of your time – and for fun, fitness, and discovery, little beats moving at your own pace, moved by your own power.

As part of the Suunto Summit, being in Finland about outdoors (and) sports watches, a trail run fit the purpose only too well.

The Helsinki City Trail, as it turned out, was also the perfect example of a trail run that surprises in wildness while leading straight through an urban area.

We could use more of that.

Runs that are wilder, and cities that are…

Funnily, you wouldn’t notice from the start, or most of the time on the course, how much you are getting into Helsinki proper.

Sure, there are crossings over and under major roads, but while we were expecting the course to get considerably easier over time, there was nothing of that.

In fact, even at the very end, when you already hear the voices of the announcer and the crowd at the finish, you are still running over boulders, in what looks mainly like Scandinavian forest as one would imagine it – and then, suddenly, there is the exit onto (more or less) paved ground.

(This time, because of construction work, the finish had to be in Helsinki’s horse-riding arena rather than its Olympic Stadium, so there was packed soil and sand.)

This run was also interesting, and wild, and then ultimately a lesson, for me personally.

Even having finally taken a course to become a certified running coach, I was still ignoring all the good theory I had learnt for this run.

Wild abandon was the name of the game; off we went, off I went…

Then the recklessness caused me to take a tumble, quite literally, abrading and getting a soon-to-be green-and-blue spot on my hip, finding the answer to whether or not I still know how to break a fall: Yes, but having my heart rate skyrocket.

After that, I became slower and slower, especially as the trail just continued being unexpectedly technical.

At the top of the main uphill climb, my oldest contact at Suunto (and the organizer of the race) commented “It’s almost only downhill from here!,” but it didn’t go so in my understanding of it, except in the metaphoric sense.

Well, we all have those lessons we have to learn for ourselves.

This was one for me, which had been waiting for a while, finally worked (I was at the Venice Marathon a week after the Helsinki City Trail, and it went very differently), and I’m happy about that.

Now to get into the regular and rational training I’d advise for everyone. First of all, me…