Birkie Trail Run, Relay and Trek events attract 750 athletes
HAYWARD — Beautiful fall colors and great weather was enjoyed by over 750 runners, walkers and Nordic walkers at the 8th annual Birkie Trail Run, Relay and Trek held on Saturday.
This year’s events started with the first ever Birkie Trail Marathon. The challenging 26.2 mile event was won by Craig Hertz of Duluth, with a winning time of 2:58:36. The women’s marathon event was won by Jan Guenther of Mound, Minn. Guenther finished the marathon in 3:31:22.
The runners of the Marathon started their event at Hatchery Creek Park in Hayward and ran the Birkie and Kortelopet trail for 26.2 miles to the finish at Telemark in Cable.
Ryan Ping, Winona, Minn. captured the first place honors in the Birkie Trail Run half marathon. The women’s division was won by Megan Ping, of Winona, Minn.
The Pings captured the championship titles today after running 13.1 miles on the Birkie Trail from County Highway OO in Seeley to Telemark. Ryan Ping’s winning time was 1:18:58.6. Megan Ping completed the event in 1:27:32.5.
The 26.2 mile Marathon Relay includes categories for 3- and 6-person Open, Women’s and Mixed teams. Teams are handicapped based on participant ages and genders to even the fun oriented competition. Fifty-one teams participated in the Marathon Relay.
In the six-person Team Relay events, Team Pressed Rats-6 took first place honors in the open division in a time of 2:35:31. The Women’s 6-person Relay event was won by team Seeley Striders in 3:01:21. The 6-person Mixed Team winner was Dusty N Rusty in 3:24:12.
The 3-person Team Relay divisions were led by Northwoods South taking first place in the open division in a time of 2:25:37. The Women’s 3-person Relay event was won by team Seeley Divas in 3:16:07. The 3-person Mixed Team winner was Pressed Rats-3 in 2:38:51.
The 5K Fun Run/Walk held at Telemark was won by Ryan Hansen of Hayward in a time of 17:52:2. First place in the Women’s division was Anne Chisholm of Grand Rapids, Minn., finishing in 22:30.1.
The untimed 21K Nordic Walk starting at County Highway OO and finishing at Telemark had over 127 entrants.
Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, said runners and walkers from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa and from as far away as California, Maryland, Florida, Texas, Alaska and even one runner from Germany had great conditions for the 8th anniversary event.
“The Birkie Trail Run events have continued to grow each year,” Zuelsdorff said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout of participants and spectators.”
“The Trail Run events offer a great opportunity for the American Birkebeiner to showcase the beautiful trail system in Bayfield and Sawyer Counties,” Zuelsdorff said. “We want people to know that although we offer an excellent trail for cross country skiing in the winter months the trail is also available for running, walking, and biking the rest of the year. We encourage residents and visitors to use the trail as part of their year round fitness routine.”
The 2011 Birkie Trail Run, Relay and Trek is scheduled for Sept. 24, 2011. To learn more about Birkie 2011 log on to http://www.birkie.com or call 715/634-5025.