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Birkie Announces Marathon Relay, Half Marathon & 5K Trail Run

Tue, Jun  5, 2007 - By Leslie Hamp

HAYWARD, Wisc., May 29, 2007 – Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, today announced a new trail run event will be launched as part of the 35th anniverary of the American Birkebeiner.

The Birkie Trail Run, formerly a 15K and 5K running event, will be relaunched as a 26.2 mile Marathon Relay, an individual 13.1 mile Half Marathon, and a 5K Fun Run. All events will take place on the hilly Birkie Trail on Saturday, September 22, 2007.

“The Birkie has grown exponentially since Tony Wise launched the marathon-distance cross country ski race in 1973, and we decided the 35th anniversary was the perfect year to expand upon his vision and re-design our a fall running event,” Zuelsdorff said. “We think Tony would have been pleased with the new event and with expanded year-round Birkie Trail use.”

In the 35 years since Tony Wise launched the Birkie, 189,285 men and women have skied the 51-kilometer American Birkebeiner and 23-kilometer Kortelopet. Thousands of others have participated in shorter races and events catered to youth, teens, families and recreational skiers.

“Skiers consistently say the Birkie motivates them to stay healthy and fit year-round, and runners consistently ask if we’ll add a longer and team-oriented running event,” Zuelsdorff said. “The Birkie Trail Run seemed a natural way to respond to both skiers and runners and get them on the famous Birkie Trail during one of the most beautiful times of the year in northern Wisconsin.”

The September 22 Birkie Trail Run will feature Marathon Relay Teams with 3- and 6-person Open, Women’s and Mixed Teams. Relay teams will be handicapped based on participant ages and genders. Water, energy products and medical support will be available on the course, but teams will be responsible for transporting team members to specified relay exchange points using a single vehicle. Higher clearance vehicles are recommended due to some of the forest roads that will be used to get to the runner exchange points.

The Individual Half Marathon will include mens’ and womens’ divisions and 10-year age classes. All runners must be at least 16 years of age on race day.

The 5K Fun Run is open to anyone age 10 or older on race day.

“We’ll have food and beverages, music and lots of door prizes at the finish line, and it’ll be a fun way to kick off 35th anniverary activities,” Zuelsdorff said. “Like all Birkie events, there’s something for everyone. We encourage folks to join us for a fun event at a great time of the year at a fantastic site.”

To register for the Birkie Marathon Relay, Half Marathon or 5K Trail Run, log on to or call 715/634-5025.