GALLERY: Nearly 200 teams sweat it out at Otepää sauna marathon  ({{commentsTotal}})

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Photo: A team of "athletes" in a hot beer bath Author: (Reuters/Scanpix)

The annual European Sauna Marathon, the 6th of its kind, took place in Estonian winter capital Otepää on Sunday.

Of the 236 registered teams, 192 took to the starting line, including 9 from abroad. Altogether, 768 sauna lovers visited 20 different saunas and 19 ice holes, hot tubs and other attractions. The fastest team, who was awarded its own hot tub for the effort, took 3 hours and 20 minutes to complete the course.

The rules of the event were simple: each team was given an orienteering map showing the locations of the saunas. All team members then had to be in each sauna for at least three minutes. A 30-minute penalty was added to the team's finishing time for every location they failed to visit. Minutes could be shaved off from the final time by taking a dip in ice holes and cold water pools.

However, for the majority of the participants, the competition and times seemed to be of secondary importance. It's more about the entertainment value of the event. Many contestants also wear humorous costumes and headgear to stand out from the crowd and add to the fun.

Perhaps the most exotic of this year's saunas was the hot beer tub.

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