Wow, you are going to Jukola? Then that means I should probably do again something I thought I would probably never have to repeat, which is to prepare you for a race. You might recall that prior time, which occurred a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, in the state of Washington....Well, of course you recall; your memory is legendary. Anyway, I have been to Jukola and you have not, and it may be you have some preconceived, misplaced notions about Jukola and certain critical deficiencies in knowledge, starting with thinking that Jukola is basically just like Billygoat but bigger and with fewer t-shirts. So here are several key things I think you should know (and Iif maybe the good Jagge is reading, he will kindly correct me where I have erred, or perhaps he can add additional crucial insights):
1) Jukola is *not* Billygoat. It is the largest swingin' relay in the world!
2) You might think that the most important thing you and your teammates could do between now and the race is to train hard to improve your fitness, the better to handle the rigors of the notoriously demanding Finnish forest. But you would be wrong. The most important thing you could do would be to learn the Finnish language, which is of course impossible in the short amount of time you have. So the next best thing you can do is to be sure to learn at least one key phrase, one which will alert you to the possibility of a most disastrous "in race" situation. At some point in the race--or maybe many points--you are likely to get caught up in a fast moving train that seems to be going where you want to go, and which is being led by a guy that looks fit, fast, like he knows what he's doing, and who--most importantly--looks like he is Finnish. So you do what anyone would do, which is to join in and go with the flow. So far so good.
And then he stops, He studies the map. Which is good because surely by then you are all very near the control, which is an extremely difficult looking, utterly minuscule reentrant which is probably like a 1/2m x 3m crack in a rock outcrop, just a smidge of dink in a contour line. He is studying the map so he can advance confidently the last few final steps to the rock crack. And then he looks up and says to nobody in particular:"Mielestäni olemme vitun."
Yes, you will want to know that phrase and you will want your teammates to know it, too.
3) Everyone you meet will be friendly, but it is hard to tell just how friendly they really are, because of, again, the Finnish language thing. Someone could look you straight in the eye and say (in Finnish): "You remind me of an ugly saliva slug I once saw on the street in Turku", and as along as they said it with a smile you would have no clue and would probably think they were pretty friendly. Whereas if the same thing happened in Sweden and they said: "Du paminna mig av en ful saliva slug sag jag en gang pa gatan i Turku", you would at least have a chance to catch the "saliva slug" bit and think to yourself just how friendly they were.
4) I don't know where Jukola is this year, but if it's anywhere near the border with Russia, don't get the idea that an amusing thing to do would be to drive to the border, hop across the border, drink a beer while documenting it on Instagram, and then hop back across to continue on your merry ways. It doesn't always go well: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/20/brit...
Plus, you don't even like beer, or at least you didn't before you went to work for The Man.
5) If you pass through the Finish (note: "Finish", not "Finnish") and you see everyone ahead of you is stopping by large bins where they are taking off their O' shoes and socks and discarding them into the bins, you may wonder to yourself: "what manner of strange orienteering ritual is this that I have before me?" Or you may simply think: "Wtf???" Don't worry. It's all very ordinary and you should do whatever they do. It's not some evil shoe company plot designed to sell more shoes. Rather, what has happened is you have just spent the past 2 or so hours running through a forest thoroughly infested with Valkokärpässieni, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
6) As a final bit of advice, if you meet up with some Finn and are having a pleasant conversation with them (in English!) and they ask you if you're going to run Jukola "pasi style", they aren't repeating a crude phrase along the lines of something Trump might use but with a Finnish accent. I mean, "pasi" could be almost anything, right? No. They are just asking if you are going to do Jukola without a compass. Which would be a very, very bad idea. Even in a really nice, wide open Finnish forest, a compass can still be useful, and it's no extra trouble to carry along even if you never look at it once. But in some really difficult terrain with nearly impregnable forest, without a compass you will disappear into it and, well, you will simply disappear into it, end of story.
So that's that, and be sure when you get there to wave your freak flag high, higher!, higher! Wow! Jukola!