After the successful launch of Tartu Rattaralli in 1982 and the pressure from runners the first Tartu Sügisjooks (Tartu Autumn Run) was organized in 1983. It was decided that the marathon should definately be run in the city just like other famous marathons in the world. So the course passed the city of Tartu, starting by the river Emajõgi and finish at the stadium of Tartu University.
From the first edition on the event gained popularity and following years the number of participants of the main race already grew to more than 1000. And this number did not include the shorter races – 10 and 4 km. Also, the races for children – MINI and MIDIjooks – were very popular, the highest numbers reached 2000. As for any other popular sport event, the golden period was between 1984 and 1987. And the hardest time was the beginning of the nineties. Fortunately nowdays has been set up new participation records.
While Tartu Maraton and Rattaralli annually grew in the end of the nineties, the running event, that was organized by running clubs, needed a new impulse. The last Tartu Sügisjooks was held in 1999, on a new course. The city atmosphere was exchanged for a more healthier one and the race was taken to South-Estonia, to places known from Tartu Maraton.
Next big change took place in 2000 when the race was taken to spring instead of autumn. Tartu Sügisjooks became Tartu Jooksumaraton. The distances stayed the same – 23 km for the main race and 10 km for the short race. Present course of Tartu Jooksumaraton starts in Otepää and ends in Elva. Where possible, the course follows the track of Tartu Maraton.
In 2004, a 10 km Nordic Walking was added to the program. It was the first big Nordic Walking event in Estonia and became popular straight away. Since 2007, there is also a 23 km distance for Nordic Walking.
Also, the traditional children races have not disappeared: a day before the main race children gather in Tartu Tähtvere Sport park to take part in TILLUjooks, MINImaraton or the 4 km Open Track race. There are also races for children in Otepää and Elva, on the day of the main race. So, Tartu Jooksumaraton gives something to the whole families!
The changes of the course and program in 1999 are fairly justified – the emotional event in the springtime has become more and more popular since 2000. The main race of Tartu Jooksumaraton is the most popular long distance run in Estonia. The course records holders are from 2010 Taivo Püi (EST) and Irene Chepkirui (KEN).
Pavel Loskutov and Vjatšeslav Košelev own the biggest numbers of victories of Tartu Jooksumaraton. Loskutov has won the race 7 and Koselev 5 times. Among women Ille Kukk 9 times and Külli Kaljus 7 times.
More and more people are starting to take care of their health and as running and Nordic Walking are the sports that need the least finances the participation numbers are growing annually. In 2005 the races gathered 2067 participants, the number was already 5656 in 2010.
Statistics - numbers and winners (*.xls)