Route 2000 is the longest hiking trail in Helsinki. It covers 110 km, and usually takes 5 days to complete. So naturally, YouTuber Jonne (aka The Unlazy Way) decided to try and do it in 24 hours of non-stop walking.
But while walking is usually a perfectly pleasant, low-impact form of cardio, Jonne’s challenge took him to some weird places.
It didn’t help that on the day he and his friends set out on their hike, Helsinki was struck by the worst rainstorm in years: “So after 3 hours and 10 km, we were soaking wet, cold as hell, and we had more than 20 hours to go,” he says.
Things improved after the rain stopped, until 7 hours in, when the sun went down. “In short, the night was horrific,” Jonne says. “First of all, I was stupid enough to not have a headlamp with me, so I couldn’t see a damn thing. I had to rely on my friends’ lights, which was less than optimal.”
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This was when the physical impact of the challenge started to become evident.
“My feet swelled so much that my shoes felt 2 sizes too small, and later 2 of my toenails turned purple and fell off,” he says. “I was constantly waxing my crotch with Vaseline, as my inner thighs were painfully chafing. My wet shoes also created multiple blisters in my feet. And as the cherry on top, we were already running low on water and food, and had to start saving it.”
And things got even worse when they would stop to rest. “The first few steps after a break are the worst,” he explains. “I mean, you’re just fine before the break, then you take a break, and when you continue, your muscles suddenly remember that they are in huge f***ing pain.”
It wasn’t all bad, though. Jonne recalls experiencing some surprising mental benefits during the grueling hike. “Walking in the dark in total silence while staring at the only light source available is quite therapeutic. It feels like meditation,” he says, adding: “After 18 hours of walking, I have entered a trance-like state. I’m in immense pain, but my body is like, meh… Walking has become my natural state. Not standing, not sitting. Walking!”
They eventually hit their target of 24 straight hours of walking. And while they might have fallen short of the 110 km finish line, they still made it well past the halfway mark.
“In total we walked around 71 km, which required over 90,000 steps and over 12,000 calories,” Jonne says. “After the walk I was euphoric, it felt like a huge accomplishment. That’s what happens every time you push past your limits, go beyond what you thought was possible, and survive to tell the tale.” Although, he concedes, it came at a cost: “My feet were covered in blisters, my butt crack was bleeding from all the chafing, and my knees were like two swollen balloons. And my toes turned purple!”
He adds, however, that in retrospect he would do it all again — and probably will, next summer. “It’s funny: we just walked,” he says, “and we spent 24 hours doing it, and just by doing that, we did something that we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
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