On February 24th, the 102nd anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, Priit Valk and Ulvi Lond won the Office Marathon run at the Tartu office of Playtech. The participation fees of the charity run were donated to the Tartu University Hospital’s Children’s Foundation for buying an innovative hologram device.
At the marathon unique both in Estonia and also the world, 38 runners at the starting line had to run on an indoor track comprised of 102 laps. On a distance of 42.2 kms, the marathoners were required to run a record-breaking of 510 storeys up and as much down, going through 21 420 stairs on office staircases.
There were 31 male and 7 female runners at the starting line this year, including 3 runners from Lithuania. 28 of them completed the full marathon and 10 finished the half marathon distance. The overall winner of the Office Marathon was Priit Valk with the time of 4:44:25,5. In the female category, the fastest was again Ulvi Lond with the time of 6:57:33,4.
„I am not happy with my finish time, I was 1 minute and 12 seconds slower than the track record – Gunnar Kingo ran a little bit faster last year,“ Valk joked at the finish line while still managing to cut his time by 23 minutes compared to last year.
„It was easier for me this year, I already knew the track and the stairs were much more gentle to me. Also, I have been training really differently this time – I spent much less time running and more at the gym doing physical training, which helped a lot,” the winner admitted. He added that he was afraid of his Lithuanian competitors the most and tried to get a good head start before them to keep the title home.
Valk is also one of the few Estonians who has participated at the legendary Spartathlon ultramarathon, completing its 246 km track in 34 hours and almost 40 minutes. Compared to Spartathlon, he reckoned the Office Marathon is a rather easy challenge and advised everyone participating next year to exercise running down the stairs. “It is more difficult to run down, it kills your sartorius muscle and leg shins,” he commented.
Valdo Kanemägi, the organiser of the Office Marathon said that the main motivation for organising such an extreme ordeal was the charity purpose – as the Office Marathon is a charity event, the participation fees are traditionally donated to the Tartu University Hospital’s Children’s Foundation. “As a runner for many years, I know that running is a privilege and if the donation helps someone in need or gets someone running, there cannot be any better incentive,“ he said.
When the Tartu University Hospital’s Children’s Foundation representative Kätlin Lindsaar came to collect the donation voucher before the start, she expressed a great gratitude on behalf of the Foundation as well as the Tartu University Hospital that the runners are donating for a good cause – buying an innovative hologram device for the Children's Clinic of Tartu University Hospital.
“When young patients come in, we need to carry out medical procedures that make them scared, such as blood collection or injections. Hologram helps to reduce their fear – if our small patients stay focused on the hologram, they won’t pay attention to the procedures,” she described the innovative method that the child neurologists in Tartu came across recently and now want to put into practice.
Last year, the foundation invested the donation into buying a long-awaited walk-assist robot for Southern Estonia and in 2018, a melting and heating device for breast milk was bought, using the donation of the Office Marathon participation fees.