3 March – Find below a short interview with Matias Hilden (Race organiser Saimaa swimrun). We asked him about the Saimaan norppa and his swimrun event.

Hi Matias thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. It seems like the illustrious ring seal is slowly making a comeback. So my first question is: Have you ever seen this beautiful creature in real life?

Yes, I have seen the saimaannorppa several times, mainly when I have canoed in Lake Saimaa. Usually you can see this seal (norppa) when they are breathing air. During spring times they are laying on rocks, and that is best time to see this animal wholly. There are many more seals now than 10 or 30 years ago: now about 400, but the animal is still endangered.

What’s your view: Why are they still endangered?

There are many reasons: over 60 years ago it was legal to hunt seals, and water pollution and also fishing are some reasons too. Nowadays there are no anymore such problems like those, and that is why the situation is better.

What about your swimrun event, how did it all start?

About Saimaa Swimrun: few years ago we were thinking about organising some kind of sport competition in Puumala. Then we heard about swimrun, and we just started to arrange first Saimaa Swimrun. We have lots of volunteers working for the event and we got important help from Porkkala Swimrun. During years we have made small changes but mainly the event is quite similar than first Saimaa Swimrun was three years ago.

Thanks Matias and good luck with your event for this year!

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