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When Earth's 3rd-hottest month on record put a damper on Finland's Ice Marathon

Sunday, February 21st 2021, 6:05 am - It's the first year the course had to be shortened due to weather.

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Since 1984, Finland has held an ice marathon. It's not a traditional marathon as it's not 42.2 km, nor is it running. Instead, race options are ice skating, ice biking, or kick sledding, and race durations are 25 km, 50 km, 100 km or 200 km.

The Finland Ice Marathon has always been held in Kuopio on a frozen Lake Kallavesi. The location has held 36 successful races. The weather had a different idea for the event's 37th year.

The winter started cold enough to create a good thickness of ice on Lake Kallavesi. For almost two full weeks before the event, the temperature rose to above freezing, making it difficult for race officials to create the course.

A few days before the event started, the temperatures reduced to below freezing. The Finland Ice Marathon's officials announced that a 10-km course would be open for the 2020 event on Feb. 21.

On Feb. 21, the event actually needed to be shortened to 6.5km. While the event was taking place, the ice started to buckle and so the course was shortened even further to 3 km. This is the first time the race was highly impacted by warming temperatures.

Feb. 2020 was Earth's second-warmest Feb. and third-warmest month since record-keeping began in 1880 (NOAA).

The hottest February on record is 2016's and the hottest month on record is March from the same year.

The Finland Ice Marathon is virtual in 2021 due to COVID-19, but hopefully, the event will be able to continue in 2022.

To learn more about Finland's ice marathon and the Earth's warming temperatures, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History" and check out this article by The Weather Network's Scott Sutherland: 2020 nearly beat out all the hottest years in the record books.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Ras/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

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