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Topi Raitanen

Date of birth: 7.2.1996
Sports: Steeplechase & Orienteering
Helsingin kisaveikot (track and field) & Helsingin Suunnistajat (orienteering)

Topi on social media:


European Championship gold – 3000m steeplechase: 2022
Finnish Championship – 3000m steeplechase: 2017, 2018 & 2019
Finnish Championship – 3000m steeplechase (indoor): 2018
Finnish Championship – 4km cross-country running: 2016, 2017 &2019
Youth World Championship gold – Team relay orienteering: 2015


“The final lap is a mental battle.”


3000m steeplechaser Topi Raitanen is among the top names in Finnish athletics. In addition to his main discipline, the 3000-meter steeplechase, Raitanen has achieved success in the 1500 meters, orienteering, and road and trail running.

Representing Team Renta, Raitanen enjoys competition, pushing his own limits, and even the discomfort that inevitably comes with endurance training in a certain way. Through his own example, Raitanen hopes to inspire others to work towards their dreams.

According to Topi, the most significant milestones in his career so far occurred in 2015 and 2018.

“In 2015, I won the youth world championship in orienteering relay. At that time, I also ran my first steeplechase races, and eventually, I was third in the European statistics. That’s when I started thinking about how far my abilities could take me in steeplechase.”

“In the summer of 2017, steeplechase was already my main event. In the summer of 2018, I finished eighth in the European Championships and had the opportunity to run many good races. The progress continued in steeplechase in 2019, and I broke the Olympic qualification time.”

In athletics, Raitanen is motivated by the head-to-head battles, an experience not quite the same in orienteering forests.

“Those moments specifically inspire, when you’re pushing the last lap and fighting for positions and victory. We’ve joked with the coach that his job ends at 2600 meters. The last lap is a mental battle, a desire to win the ongoing duel. The will to win must be strong to find the strength for the final sprint. I usually have that strength, as long as the body is functioning.”

Currently, Raitanen’s focus is firmly on athletics, but if the calendar allows, he may still be seen occasionally in orienteering and trail running competitions.

Raitanen is also enthusiastic about golf. “It’s enjoyable outdoor activity. Golf served as a good mental reset last year. It’s nice to move outdoors in beautiful landscapes, in good weather. Maybe one year I could participate in speed golf? That could be a future hobby!” Topi laughs.

Perhaps this could also be an idea for a future Renta Challenge?



“The sick enjoyment of the feeling of discomfort is something you have to somehow revel in.”


The 3000-meter steeplechase is a brutal event that demands endurance, strength, and mental toughness. Raitanen explains that in the race performance, they push through the latter part largely on strong acids. However, according to Raitanen, the tougher work is done in training periods.

“We endure a long winter tired. Then during the competition season, things start to ease a bit.”

“Training requires resilience. I would even say that in some sick way, you have to enjoy the feeling of discomfort. You have to dare to push your body to the limit in both training and competitions.”

According to Raitanen, training for endurance sports is quite solitary. “You have to be at peace with it. Quite often, you’re alone out there by the roadside pushing yourself to the limit. It’s persistent work, and no one can do the training for you.”

In training cycles, three hard weeks are followed by one lighter week. In a tough week, Raitanen might cover, for example, 170 kilometers with 13 training sessions. Rest days are scheduled according to the competition calendar.

Topi’s training week includes five more intense sessions – four in the speed endurance zone and one at maximum speed endurance. In addition, there are two longer runs, three different strength training sessions, and lighter recovery exercises.

“Training doesn’t always feel good, and it doesn’t always have to. I aim to keep performance at a good level throughout the year, and I enjoy competing.”

In addition to endurance, a steeplechaser’s body needs strength. This is gained through hill running and squats in the gym. Raitanen considers hill running an excellent exercise for a runner, not only for strength but especially for running posture. Running uphill teaches lifting the knee and pushing the foot forward. Hill running is not a magic cure, and for a recreational athlete, Raitanen recommends focusing on basics.

“For a recreational athlete, the first piece of advice would be to prefer several shorter runs over one long and tough run per week. Three times a 30–40 minute run is better than one two-hour run. In small amounts, the body stays intact,” advises Raitanen.



“Working towards your dreams is a wonderful trait in a person.”


Topi Raitanen has learned to embrace an active lifestyle from a young age. Time spent with family and friends is also crucial—although due to traveling, a significant part of his social circle has naturally formed around sports.

As an athlete, Raitanen doesn’t have specific role models. He mentions respecting people who dare to pursue their dreams. “Whether it’s the 3000 meters steeplechase, playing the violin, or any passion that makes you dare to commit and work towards it. It’s a wonderful trait in a person,” reflects Topi.

Raitanen was also recognized as the Fair Play Athlete of the Year in 2019. In connection with the award, Topi was praised for his true athlete attitude, openness, being a role model, and fair treatment of competitors. In the competitive sports world, these are not necessarily self-evident qualities.

“I strive to be myself. I try to make the choices that I personally consider important. Pursuing my own goals, challenging myself physically and mentally—these are the things I aim for, and I encourage others to do the same. I try to inspire young athletes to pursue their own dreams and limits. It’s wonderful if a young person gets excited about it and starts working towards their dreams.”


“The same values among partners.”


Renta is Topi Raitanen’s main partner. Behind this is a long-term collaboration spanning years and a strong shared set of values.

“The collaboration started with what is now known as Renta Telineet (Renta Scaffolding) back in 2013. Since those days, Renta has grown to become my current main partner. Renta’s support enables me to pursue my dreams and work professionally in this field.”

“Overall, Renta’s values – reliability and persistent work – are exactly the values I strive to follow in my daily life. In that sense, it has been great to have partners who share these values behind my career.”

When talking about reliable individuals, Topi Raitanen highlights his coach, Janne Ukonmaanaho. “In individual sports, personal coaches bear the main responsibility for the training. The fact that he can plan the best possible program requires that Janne knows my everyday life and understands me as an athlete and as a person. Over these years, we’ve been able to build an extremely close relationship of trust. If someone knows the deepest secrets, it’s him. And that’s how it should work. No issues go unnoticed or unspoken,” explains Raitanen.

Finally, Raitanen throws down a challenge.

“Renta is once again participating in the 2020 Vantaa Company Marathon relay to defend our championship. Readers are welcome to challenge our team!” Topi suggests.




Topi Raitanen