OSLO, Norway (March 11) – Sprint star Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) showed another promising side of her athletic abilities as she finished 21st in a 30k classic race at Holmenkollen Sunday. Skiing in as high as 13th position with a group just behind the leaders, Randall fought the long distance race under warm weather conditions to the end. Teammate Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) was close behind in 24th. Hometown hero Marit Bjoergen of Norway skied a dominating race in front of thousands of cheering fans to take the win.
Overall, I think it got a little slow in some places but the conditions were actually pretty good. I had a really good middle part of the race. I felt strong and I switched to a new pair of skis and was feeling good cruising up the hills. Then I switched skis on the last lap and I didn't have quite as much kick and I was getting a little tired and cramping started to set in. But I fought hard to the end and I'm glad I put in a really hard effort.
The race is such a mental game. It's so long and you go through highs and lows out there so every time I do one of these I figure it out a little bit more. For sure it's awesome training and hopefully I'll just continue to improve.
Chris Grover, Cross Country Head Coach
It's been a huge goal for Kikkan to compete for the overall and she's done it all season. Not only has she been wearing that red sprint leaders bib all season, but she's been in fourth/fifth in the overall all season. It's going to be quite a battle for fourth place between her and Charlotte Kalla. Just to be fighting for fourth place in the overall at the end of the season is an incredible achievement. She was 10th last season, so this is quite a step forward.
Liz was having a good day. That was her fastest start in a classic race. To get out as fast as she did and be in that kind of contact with the leaders is something she has struggled with so it was good to see her have a good start.
I think if we had just been able to dial in the kick a little better Kikkan and Liz, in particular, would have been a few places higher.