FinnFest to attempt a record

FinnFest USA 2013  organizers are preparing for a large variety of activities to educate and engage attendees, including an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest single assembly of people walking with Finnish Nordic Walking Poles.

FinnFest draws people from all over the world and special guests for this event include “Buddy” Shuh and Cassandra Sturos – both former contestants on the reality television series ‘The Biggest Loser.’

“We’re really excited that Buddy and Cassandra have agreed to join us at FinnFest,” said Dave Maki, event organizer.  “They both have Finnish connections that can be traced to the Copper Country and we are pleased to have them help us break this record.”

At least 1,200 people are needed to participate in the event and break the record.  Certified observers will be on site to ensure participants are properly walking and counting the number of participants and submit the entry for Guinness Book of World Records acceptance.

Cost is only $5 per person and participants who do not have poles will be able to rent them on site.  Some cross-country ski poles could be used, provided they are the appropriate length, and have a rubber tip.

The world record attempt will get under way on Saturday at 10 a.m.

The attempt at the world record will begin at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and the Church of the Resurrection parking lot(s) in Hancock and will conclude at the Ray Kestner Water Front Park in Houghton.  Although pre-registration is encouraged, registration will begin at 8 a.m.  The 3K walk will begin at 10 a.m.  Shuttle busses will be available at the conclusion of the race to bring participants back to Hancock.

Nordic walking is fitness walking with specially designed poles. While trekkers, backpackers and skiers had been using the basic concept for decades, it was first formally defined with the publication of “Sauvakävely” by Marko Kantaneva in 1997.

“Nordic Walking is similar to off-season ski-training,” said Maki. “This form of exercise activity has grown in popularity both in the U.S. and abroad.”

There are many health benefits to Nordic walking. Nordic walkers use more of their entire body (with greater intensity) and receive fitness building stimulation, which results in significant increases in heart rate at a given pace. Nordic walking has been estimated as producing up to a 46 percent increase in energy consumption, compared to walking without poles. Additionally, the poles provide stability for physically challenged walkers, allowing them to walk further and with greater confidence.

For more information on this event or other FinnFest USA 2013 activities, visit