First gathering

Finland is the place to be in July! On the weekend of July 10-12, will host its first (and as of yet, only) real life gathering at Kris's outdoor gym on an island outside the city of Vaasa. Besides being a unique location from a lifting point of view, this is also where the project originated from a certain One-man RAW meet back in August 2006 and a subsequent proposition for a meet hosted over the internet. The rest, as they say, is rapidly becoming history.

The gathering was proposed on our forums in November 2007. You could say it's been cooking for a while...

The main purpose of the gathering is naturally to meet fellow Virtualmeeters in person. There is also the opportunity to compete in the virtual powerlifting meet arranged on that weekend by lifting under the clear blue sky... or to just come in and do some hard training (there's chains, bands, specialty bars...). If there is interest, a weightlifting meet can also be arranged.

Timetable and preliminary program

The participants will make the journey from Helsinki, the capital of Finland in the very south of the country, up to Vaasa by train in the afternoon of Friday, July 10th. This means that you need to be at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport no later than about 1pm that day to make it. Kris will be on hand to pick up all arrivals at the airport beginning Thursday, July 9th (you'll be in good hands from the start).

Some five hours later we will be arriving at the island for an evening of good food and chit chat.

Saturday is meet day! After weighing in and getting familiar with the setting, there is an intense event to look forward to (bring your own mp3:s if you want to rock to any specific tune). The wooden sauna by the sea will be warm and ready afterwards... and you can count on some great Finnish food coming your way too. The rest of the day and evening will be dedicated to R&R (rest and recuperation), but the gym is naturally open for anyone to use at any time too.

Sunday morning we may arrange some kind of seminar and/or restorative training.

At this stage, only the dates are cut in stone and the program will be adapted depending on the amount of participants and their wishes and schedules. Participants are also welcome to arrive by other means than train on the 10th, eg. by flying in or coming by car.

Costs and accomodation

The gathering is arranged on a not-for-profit basis. This means that there will be no fees to attend the event itself. There will be room for at least a few participants to stay with Kris and his family both in Helsinki and at the island. Kris can also help in finding accomodation in a suitable price class should that be necessary.

Naturally, you will need to pay for all travel expenses (train tickets are about 50 euros one way), for possible accomodation if not staying with Kris and for food not eaten on the island. Kris reserves the right to charge a small sum to cover food expenses should there be more than a few participants. This will be communicated well in advance of the event if so.

Kris can provide more detailed cost examples for anyone interested.

What else?

The gym is on an island only reachable by boat. There is no running water, but there is electricity and a mobile internet connection. There is a main house and a couple of smaller cottages on the island. You'll be comfortable there, but don't expect it to be just like home. That's part of the thrill.

What if it rains? That is part of the life of an outdoor lifter. We will do our best to cover the rack, but the meet will definitively not be cancelled. :)

Interested? Questions? Contact Kris at or post on the Gathering forum thread. For more information on the gym, see this "making-of" blog (the bottom line: this equipment can take all you can dash out) and this historic overview. I will also make sure that you'll have all the plates you can handle...

This will be something to remember...