Aonach Athletes

Laura Heinonen

My triathlon journey has been filled with challenges, triumphs, and unexpected turns. When reflecting on my path since 2018, I am proud of the milestones I've achieved, especially considering I began as being unable to complete 50 meter lap in the pool.

I have victories in Ironman 70.3 events within my age group, achieved PBs, and recorded podium finishes in Ironman, 70.3 distances and olympic distances. One of the defining moments of my career came in 2021 when I secured a slot in the Ironman World Championship in Kona. Despite facing setbacks, including a last-minute injury, I persevered, emerging more resilient than ever before.

While I aspire to compete as a pro, balancing my athletic pursuits with my day job has ended that dream for now. Still, my enthusiasm remains strong. I am reminded of the importance of consistency, preparation, and unwavering determination. It is not always easy, but with perseverance and a commitment to training, I can overcome any obstacle that stands in my way.

For me, the triathlon is not just about achieving podium finishes or setting personal records—it's about embracing the thrill of competition, pushing my limits and living the athletic life. And with each stroke, pedal, and stride, I am one step closer to realizing my full potential.

“Train hard, but firstly train smart” (They are not always the same)


Nina Repo

I’m Nina Repo, but you can call me Ninni. I was the 2022 UTTF series champion, but I’m more than just a runner – I’m a dreamer with a zest for life.

In 2014, facing health issues and a need for self-care, I embarked on a journey that changed my life. From simple walks on forest trails to orienteering courses with my daughter, I found solace and positivity in trail running.

Running is more than just a race; it's about soaking in the whole experience, embracing the journey, and discovering new places with every step. I'm big on adapting and savoring moments, a mindset I bring from my work as a well-being coach.

Balancing work, parenting, and training is like walking a tightrope, but I've discovered the art of planning and resilience. The question on my mind is always, "What's important?" I find my compass in the values and motivators within myself as I navigate life’s twists and turns.

So, as I cheer others on to carve their path, my story is about finding the magic in self-discovery, embracing those inner values, and keeping that dreamer spirit alive on the winding trail of life.

“Embrace the journey, unlock the power within.”


Tomi Tiiperi

For over two decades, I sprinted down football pitches as a winger, but the wear and tear on my knees became too much. I faced a crossroads that would lead me to discover the benefit of running on my mental health.

Running is more than just putting one foot in front of the other. It serves as a powerful stress relief device. After a difficult day at work, I find comfort in lacing up my running shoes and clearing my mind.

Eight years into this journey, I run almost daily, braving all weather conditions. While I mainly run half marathons, the attraction of a full marathon is on the horizon.

As a proud member of Asics FrontRunner, a Maurten ambassador, and an Aonach Athlete, my approach to running emphasizes the importance of self-care as the key to unlocking our full potential in life.

“Run with joy!”


Pekka Nissinen

Riding since age five, I'm a motocross enthusiast who has been navigating the rugged tracks of the Finnish championship series. The sport has evolved during my career; it's not just about skills anymore. To compete consistently at the highest level, riders must be elite-level athletes, physically fit and mentally sharp.

I have risen through the ranks, from national competitions to clinching the 2020 B-class championship after resuming my career in 2019. As part of the EastMX GASGAS team, I placed fourth in the 2022 and 2023 Finnish championship series.

As I work towards a Master's Degree in Sports Technology, I have learned that smart, focused training is the key to success. Nutrition is vital; my daily routine revolves around the right ingredients to fuel my body for the intense demands of motocross.

Having ventured into the European and MXGP World Championships, I'm eager for podium finishes and medals. Motocross is not just a sport; it's a lifestyle that demands unwavering commitment and a thirst for victory.

“It’s all about the small details that make the big picture work.”

Discover and enjoy Pekka's engaging story on Aonach Blog by following this link: Fueling Victory: The Heart-Pounding Role of Nutrition in Motocross


Kaisa Tanskanen

I'm not your typical runner. Winning all three ultra-distance trail runs that make up the Ultra Trail Tour Finland (UTTF) in a single season is an achievement that still feels surreal to me. What makes my journey even more incredible is that it all happened in 2023, marking a return to competitive running after a four-year break following the birth of my son.

As a Finn, I'm naturally reserved about discussing my accomplishments, but I'm learning to celebrate my success. My journey this year has been incredible, and I'm excited to share my experiences and insights, especially for those considering or currently navigating the challenges of pregnancy.

My advice for runners navigating pregnancy or postpartum is simple: listen to your body. Train according to what feels good during pregnancy. After childbirth, reintroduce running gradually. Enjoy the process without rushing because, trust me, it's all worth it in the end.

Tuukka Tanskanen, my husband and a seasoned ultra-runner sparked my passion for trail running, transforming it into a lifestyle that was impossible to ignore. With his support, I became UTTF Champion and pursued my dream of becoming a Pilates teacher.

In my journey, I've understood the importance of prioritizing quality in training over quantity and the significance of holding back on celebrations. I've embraced the notion that anything can happen during a race, and true celebration is reserved for the moment I cross that finish line.

“Embrace the journey, celebrate the finish!”

Discover and enjoy Kaisa's engaging story on Aonach Blog by following this link: Trailblazing Motherhood: Kaisa Tanskanen's Journey to UTTF Champion


Kai Niiranen

Two years ago, I started an ultra-running journey that has redefined my limits and reshaped my perspective on life. My journey began during a mountain bike race in 2021. I was surrounded by ultra-runners on the same trail and couldn't resist the allure of a new challenge involving only me and my shoes.

As someone who has always been known for a ready smile, encountering a tough patch during a race was a surprise. In those moments of discomfort, I discovered my unwavering mental strength, never once entertaining the thought of quitting. Understanding my body and embracing independence in handling challenges has been vital to my performance.

In 2023, I proudly conquered the Ultra Trail Tour Finland (UTTF), clinching the coveted Ultra Trail Tour Finisher vest. The trails have become my playground, and I uncover discoveries about myself with each step. There's always more to explore, conquer, and smile about on this incredible ultra-running journey. Lace-up; let's hit the trails together!

“Keep smiling and having fun!”

Discover and enjoy Kai's engaging story on Aonach Blog by following this link: From Pedals to Trails: Kai Niiranen's Rapid Rise in Ultra-Trail Racing


Sanna Kivelä

My running journey took an unexpected turn, thanks to the pandemic. When lockdown hit, I had a unique opportunity to dive even deeper into my passion. However, a twist of fate occurred when I contracted Long Covid. Everything stopped, and it took ten months to start recovering from the virus.

The following year, I embraced trail running despite being in the worst shape of my life. It was a fresh challenge, allowing me to set new goals. Trail running injected physical and mental energy into my routine, surpassing what road running had offered. Now, the joy of my running pace and the weekly progress I make brings me happiness.

Being a shift worker in the hospitality industry brings challenges when balancing training with my irregular work hours. It's not always easy, but I've learned to embrace unpredictability and keep an open mind about what is normal. It's a continuous journey towards a new and improved version of myself.

In my role as a Trail Tour Finland ambassador, self-care takes center stage. I want to inspire others to embrace the beauty of trail running, encouraging everyone, regardless of skill level, to try it. Trail running is a beautiful journey that I recommend to everyone.

“Embrace the adventure of the trail.”

Discover and enjoy Sanna's engaging story on Aonach Blog by following this link: From Roads to Trails: Sanna Kivelä's Path of Rediscovery Post-Covid


Jukka Ikkala

When the bug hit in 2018, I went from somebody who believed running was boring and pointless to an ultra-marathon enthusiast in just five months. Today, I am still pushing my limits and experimenting with many different types of long-distance races.

This is the new me. It's relaxing to run with your thoughts, only feeling your legs and lungs. I'm not the fastest, but my mental game is strong. I’m not a quitter. It has been six years, and this journey remains unlike anything else.

As a Helsinki City Running Day Ambassador, I advocate that every runner is exceptional because it's all about the act of running itself. Whether you are a pro or a Sunday jogger, I want everybody to get out and run. There's no need to compare yourself to others; the only benchmark that truly counts is your progress, whether it's from last week or last year. Strive to surpass your previous self.

“If you run, you are a runner whatever your pace and distance is”

Get running!

Discover and enjoy Jukka's engaging story on Aonach Blog by following this link: Jukka Ikkala: Running Skeptic to Marathon Enthusiast


Juho Kunnari

Competitiveness has been a part of me since my childhood. Whether trail racing against others or my previous achievements, I constantly seek to surpass my personal best.

My journey into competitive running began five years ago with the Vaarojen Marathon, an experience I needed to undertake to test my limits. Since then, I've taken on even more demanding races, including the Ultra Trail Tour of Finland (UTTF) series and the prestigious Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB).

Running long distances feels like second nature to me. The punishing allure of ultra-races lies in the constant drive to push yourself further and strive for improvement each time. Even though I can run far, there remains a gap between me and the top-tier racers. However, I am determined and working tirelessly to narrow that gap. 

It's worth noting that I've never had a running coach or followed a structured training program, yet I am confident that I can bridge this divide.

“Push the boundaries!”

Discover and enjoy Juho's engaging story on Aonach Blog by following this link: Juho Kunnari: Running after new boundaries


Diana Wikblom

Running, spiced up with strength training, has become my passion and lifestyle. I compete in everything from 1,500m on track to marathons and ultra-trails. I love the contrasts, but my greatest ambition is long distance.

Even if I am working hard to hit time goals across different distances, it is so much more than competing. Whether running or training, pushing myself gives me strong emotions, both good and bad.

For me, it is about the connection to my inner self because that is what a rich life is meant to be. I am always trying to find new solutions to optimize development and performance.

For example, I am fascinated by how our bodies can change if you just give them the right elements—no matter your age. It’s mind power. I am a strong believer in vibrational energy and earthing. You can’t separate running performance, everything is connected. I want to continue studying this. It’s a lifetime journey.

“Focus on what you want.”

See you out there!

Discover and enjoy Diana's engaging stories on Aonach Blog by following this link:


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