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2014 European Sauna Marathon

European Sauna Marathon photo by Ints Kalnins of Reuters

There's still time to sign up for the 2014 European Sauna Marathon in Otepää, Estonia! Signups are open until January 26, 2014, and the marathon takes place on February 2, 2014. The event is free to enter. You just have to get yourself to Estonia.

What the Heck is the 2014 European Sauna Marathon?

Back in 2012, the small Estonian town of Otepää created the Sauna Marathon. It got a lot of attention, and for the 2013 event over 600 people participated.

The rules are pretty simple: everyone is divided into teams of four, and each team receives a map marked with sauna locations and a competition guide. The teams must visit every sauna on the map and spend at least three minutes inside each sauna (the sauna owners verify this by marking your team card). The first team to complete the circuit wins.

There are a lot of other things going on  besides saunas: along the way are ice pools for cold water plunges, food, and entertainment. The entire circuit is about 62 miles, which provides for another obstacle: driving in Estonian weather in February. Each team uses cars to get around, and there's no shortage of teams getting stuck in the snow.

The Start of Something Good?

With the tremendous popularity of the last two marathons, it's certain the 2014 event will be a big deal. Currently the only known sauna marathon, don't be surprised if other communities across the world start their own competitions to bolster tourism and give folks something fun to do in the dead of winter.

Check out the links below for more information, and for some pretty hilarious photos of the 2013 competition.

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