Fun Finland Triple Treat: Nude Run, Saunas & WNBR

| August 4, 2015 | 0 Comments

My Naked Finland Adventures of 2014: Helsinki WNBR, Nakukymppi Nude Run & Finnish Nude Saunas

It had been twenty years since my last Finland visit so it was high time to return. This time the main draw as a nudist were three events: the World Naked Bike Ride in Helsinki (WNBR, also called Cyclonudista on facebook), the annual 10km nude run called Nakukymppi ( in the Lahti area and exploring authentic Finnish saunas, by far the world’s best.

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Posing next to a statue of legendary runner Paavo Nurmi in Helsinki

Helsinki World Naked Bike Ride

Unfortunately it was pouring cold rain for the WNBR. I took part bottom-free in order to avoid risking hypothermia and we were about a dozen participants.

I took no photographs to avoid damaging my camera. Despite the weather it was fun to cycle through Helsinki and become re-acquainted with its downtown area. Onlookers got a great hoot out of it and the atmosphere was very happy from start to finish. At the end we discovered a temporary lakeside sauna nearby Finnish parliament.

It was a fire-heated sauna inside a Mongolian Yurt, constructed by a Glaswegian called Don McCracken who has resided in Helsinki since 1995. For more info on this very friendly and humorous Scot’s events, see his website at

The Nude Run : Nakukymppi (10km)

The next day I boarded a bus to the tiny village of Padasjoki (3000 inhabitants, 160km north of Helsinki or 50km from the nearest large town of Lahti, population 100k) for the main event: the annual nude run of 10km called Nakukymppi ( which began in 2003.

Its founder is the self-employed exporter of specialized tubing and runner Aarne Heino who owns a cottage in the region. He casually came up with this idea when he and his running partner were jogging in the heat and commented how much more comfortable it would be to run nude.

A dozen years later the event has been growing steadily; in 2003 there were three participants and in 2014 nearly a hundred, with an equal or superior number of spectators and loads of cameras recording the event.

The weather was perfect: a happy blend of fresh air and tangible sun rays breaking through dispersed clouds. Most of the participants were Finnish but there were also Swedes, Danes and Russians, half of which were serious runners and the other half naturists or nudists.

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Thomas Lundy’s nude run next to a naked woman body painted to represent Sweden

My film of the nude run:

Having reported a fair number of conventional nudist or naturist topics such as resorts or retreats, nowadays what I look for more than ever before are nude events that take nudism or naturism directly to the non-naturist or non-nudist textile public.

This is because traditional naturism is limited to designated compounds and results in a ghetto-like scenario in which the larger public do not discover the lifestyle. Nakukymppi is perfect in this regard because the event puts nude recreation squarely into the public spotlight and garners generous media attention, even if it is largely limited to within Finland.

Running alongside lakes and up and down hilly terrain in the Finnish forest of pine and birch trees wildly stimulated my senses.

Adding to that a very happy and encouraging audience, it was certainly a most memorable event that I recommend highly. At the end of the evening we enjoyed a wonderful lakeside sauna 7km away at a camping area called Telaranta.

This was the perfect way to relax the muscles for someone like me who hadn’t run in over half a decade due to running-related injuries.

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At Telaranta camping area after the nude run

In my mind, if nude recreation is to grow, it is crucial that such events as Nakukymppi or World Naked Bike Ride multiply, bringing the nudity directly to the public. Ultimately, the nude human body ought to be legalized because there is no scientific evidence to support the manufactured false notion that the mere sight of a nude human body causes psychological damage to the onlooker. On the contrary, indoctrinating a person with such unhealthy ideas causes unnecessary psychological complexes for a person.

In the rare cases of people ‘feeling offended,’ then they need not look at the nude bodies and the normal, healthy silent majority ought not be punished because of the “nudity-negative” minority. In the end, nudists or naturists have been discriminated against far too long and confined to sealed-off zones. Hopefully this century will see the acceptance and widespread practice of urban and rural non-sexual public nudity.

Finnish Nude Saunas

Being in Finland, it would not have been complete to depart without first exploring its saunas. “Sauna” is by now a famous word known to many if not most, yet the world’s only true saunas are to be found in Finland only.

Other expansive regions such as Germanic countries including Benelux, Nordic, Slavic and Baltic states plus the former Soviet Union have strong sauna traditions but are fairly recent compared to Finland’s which date back ten thousand years.

As for the rest of the world, in my mind they could never qualify simply because the sauna was specifically designed to be used fully nude and when this is not the case, it cannot be called a true sauna. The wearing of swimsuits is not only unhygienic inside a sauna, but it also cuts off blood circulation and is thus unhealthy, not to mention creating unwanted moisture affecting temperature stability and nasty smells.

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The public self-service Sompasauna in Helsinki

I arranged a visit to the Suomen sauna seura (Finnish sauna society) established in 1937, which easily has the best saunas I have ever experienced.

The facilities consist of six (and soon, seven) mostly smoke saunas as hot as 160 degrees Celsius (but a high quality heat using wood, fire and stone not to be compared to saunas using electricity, which produce a very dry and uncomfortable synthetic heat.)

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Arla Nude Sauna in Helsinki, established in 1929

During this jam-packed sauna session of a couple of hours talking inside the various saunas with the head director Jarmo Lehtola, I learnt much. Jarmo spoke at bullet speed pointing out all sorts of nuances about the art of the sauna. “You see the ceiling inside this sauna, it is not wood but a special type of stone. If the ceiling was wood it would burn, but the rest is wood and all of it is periodically replaced otherwise the heat wears it out.”

What was his view on the tragedy of the international sauna championships in 2010 nearby Lahti in which a Russian competitor died? “The Russian guy died and it was his fault. He went against the rules, used pain killers, a skin cream and other drugs and that killed him.

The Finn walked out alive but the Russian died and it’s a pity because that competition was a great boost for local companies and for years the sauna competitors trained and it was taken quite seriously. By cheating, the Russian guy not only lost his life but also ruined this otherwise excellent event and it was cancelled.”

And, which country does the best sauna? “I’m not being biased, it is Finland and I travel all over the world to give conferences about sauna etiquette. Saunas have existed for ten thousand years in Finland. Estonia is ok but nothing comes close to Finland where there are more saunas than cars. The Russians have Banya which is not the same and Russians don’t follow the same ethos.” What did Jarmo think of German saunas? “I found saunas in Germany to be really horrible.

No air flow which is crucial and as a result you feel exhausted afterward. They use aromatic oils which burn the eyes and you have to wait for a designated person to come inside the sauna and create Layly (pouring water on the rocks); this is entirely wrong as it is the sauna users who should be free to create Layly as they wish.”

As to the question, is there such a thing as a good electric sauna? “No.”

Unlike Germany, Benelux, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria, public saunas in Finland are gender-segregated, which is unlike unisex private saunas in Finland when users already know each other (most Finns have access to their own private saunas, there are over 3 million saunas for a total population of 5.5 million.)

Overall I was ecstatic about my Finnish five-day escapade and enthusiastically encourage it for its clean air, efficient, positive-thinking, happy and helpful inhabitants, abundant space and beautiful nature.

This article was originally published in H&E Naturist magazine.

This guest post about the Finland Nude Run, Finnish Nude Saunas and Helsinki World Naked Bike Ride was published by – Young Naturists and Nudists America

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Category: Europe, Nudism and Naturism, Nudist Blogs

About the Author ()

Thomas Lundy is a rickshaw runner in Amsterdam and an actor, model, writer, musician and filmmaker known for the shorts “Nude Not” and “Naked Conversations with Nude Women.” Check out his interview on the Naturist Living Show and see more of his work on Youtube and on his website at