Kainuu Orienteering Week Finland is an annual, international orienteering event that has been held in the Kainuu province of Finland since 1966 and it attracts participants of all orienteering skill levels, from absolute beginners to top elite orienteers. Steeped in Finnish tradition Kainuu Orienteering Week is the second oldest orienteering week in the world, having been held as many as 52 times (as of 2019). In 2017, Kainuu Orienteering Week was proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Open orienteering (open courses) in Kainuu Orienteering Week - since 1997
Kainuu Orienteering Week was actually the first orienteering week event in Finland, which included fitness event in the series selection, says Aila Flöjt, editor and author of the KOW history book Kainuu Orienteering Week 50 Years - Orienteering and Holiday (2017).
For the first time in Kainuu Orienteering Week, fitness orienteering (open courses) was possible in 1997 in Kuhmo's Romuvaara - at that time the Fitness B and Fitness C tracks were available, Flöjt continues. The following year (1998), a fitness information point (now called open courses info) was organized for fitness orienteers in Kajaani in order to better serve customers; in fact - to be precise, basically Fitness Orienteering was possible at Rastiviikko for the first time back in 1994, when the Open Family RR series came into KRV's selection, Flöjt narrates.
Open courses at Kainuu Orienteering Week have increased their popularity summer by summer.
During Kainuu Orienteering Week in 2003, Joutenlampi in Kajaani already had 500-600 different people paticipated in fitness orienteering courses.
In 2010, there were already more than 1,000 different people orienteer the open courses in Paljakka, Puolanka.
In the week of 2012, the number of open courses orienteers in Kajaani continued to grow tremendously - with a total of just over 1,600 different people.
During the 2013 World Championships public competition week, a staggering 3,800 different people took part in the open courses of Kainuu Orienteering Week.
During the 2016 Kainuu Orienteering Week, there were more than 1,600 different people open courses of orienteers.
During the 50th anniversary week in 2017 in Kuhmo, more than 40% of the total number of participants in the event was in the open courses.
In the open courses at the Kajaani's and Sotkamo's Kainuu Orienteering Weeks in 2018 and 2019, was almost half of the total number of participants in the event (44-46%).