Birkie Trail Run Festival Continues to Grow & Attract Runners Nationwide

Hayward, WI (September 30, 2017) – Runners and trekkers were welcomed with perfect temperatures, sunny skies, and cool autumn breezes at Birkie Ridge, Seeley, WI, for the 16th Annual Birkie Trail Run Festival and USATF Half Marathon Trail Championship race. With a record field of over 1200 runners in the day’s events, participants were amped up for the festival which included an ultra-marathon, marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 5K, 10-mile Nordic trek, and fun run for kids.

Birkie Half Marathon & USATF Half Marathon Championship Race

The Birkie half marathon proved to be the most competitive and exciting event of the day as it played host to the USATF Half Marathon Trail Championship. The appeal of the National Championship race enticed participation from some of the best elite trail runners from across the U.S. The elite field didn’t disappoint.

Joseph Gray, Colorado Springs, CO, blew through the finish line amongst the cheering crowds at Birkie Ridge. The 33-year-old emerged from the forested trail and into the final stretch with Justin Grunewald, Minneapolis, MN, not far in his rearview mirror. Gray finished with a time of 1:10:11, with Grunewald, age 31, on his heels at 1:10:51. No stranger to the top step on the podium, Gray has amassed 13 U.S. National titles.

“It was a dream come true to run on so many miles of grass. I was amazed at the Birkie Trail course, it was heaven out there,” said Gray, after collecting his USATF National Championship award. “I really dug the course, there was awesome energy, it was well marked, lots of enthusiasm from spectators along the way. It was a great day.”

12.4 Mile – USATF Half Marathon Trail Champions – Men

1st Place – Joseph Gray, Colorado Springs, CO – 1:10:11
2nd Place – Justin Grunewald, Minneapolis, MN – 1:10:51
3rd Place — Tyler Sigl, Seymour, WI – 1:13:03

Twenty-six-year-old, Ashley Brasovan, ripped it up on the trail and flew across the finish line with a time of 1:18:30. While not a stranger to running in the mountains, this was Brasovan’s first trail run.

“When I’m going to compete, I’m going to run hard. You just go out and see whose day it is going to be. I really wanted to podium today, it was a really great day,” said Brasovan. “Everyone has been super friendly and laid back, the race was well run, spectators were great, running my race was just the cherry on top. I’d love to come back next year,” Brasovan continued.

12.4 Mile – USATF Half Marathon Trail Champions – Women

1st Place – Ashley Brasovan, Westminster, CO – 1:18:29
2nd Place – Dani Moreno, Santa Barbara, CA – 1:23:40
3rd Place – Amber Kranz, Boise, ID – 1:28:58

Saturday’s running events started early with the Ultra race (100 kilometers) at 5:30 am. Ultra marathon runners left Birkie Ridge with headlamps aglow as they made their way into the woods and the beginning of their journey on the Birkie Trail. The Ultra runners, proving their endurance and determination, were the first to start and last to finish their event. 26 brave souls started the race, with the first runners finishing over 11 hours later. Hayward, Wisconsin’s own Allison Parr, ran her first ever ultra marathon and placed a solid third in the women’s division with a time of 14:54 (unofficial time).

Birkie 100 Kilometer Ultra Marathon Champions – Men

1st Place – Brad Birkel, Middleton, WI – 11:38:00 (unofficial time)
2nd Place – Matthew Bower, St. Paul, MN – 11:54:00 (unofficial time)
3rd Place – Tom Kelby, Webster, WI – 14:48 (unofficial time)

Birkie 100 Kilometer Ultra Marathon Champions – Women

1st Place – Heather Norton-Bower, St. Paul, MN – 13:49 (unofficial time)
2nd Place – Megan Blaszak, Marquette, MI – 13:55 (unofficial time)
3rd Place – Allison Parr, Hayward, WI – 14:54 (unofficial time)

The robin-egg-blue-sky-day continued with a variety of events for the hundreds of running and trekking enthusiasts in the festival. While the breeze was cool, the pace was hot for the following competitors:

Birkie 24.8 Marathon Champions – Men

1st Place – Andy Elvester, Minnetonka, MN – 2:52:53
2nd Place – Alex Kasparek, Superior, WI 3:15:04
3rd Place – Andrew Miller, Milwaukee, WI 3:39:41

Birkie 24.8 Marathon Champions – Women

1st Place – Michelle Pratt, Albany, NY – 3:33:20
2nd Place – Carissa Laack, Wausau, WI – 3:58:23
3rd Place – Mara Klein, Saint Peter, MN – 3:59:46

Birkie 5 Kilometer – Men

1st Place – Joshua Halverson, Cameron, WI – 18:54
2nd Place – Joachim Marjon, Rochester, MN – 19:12
3rd Place – Jason Slining, Ironwood, MI – 20:35

Birkie 5 Kilometer – Women

1st Place – Nancy Hobbs, Colorado Springs, CO – 22:51
2nd Place – Louisa Ward, Woodbury, MN – 24:29
3rd Place – Stella Meza, Lac du Flambeau, WI – 24:29

Relay Team Results:

  • 3 Person Male Open:  Jonny and Da Boyz
    • Wyatt Pajtash, Nathan Johnson, Jon Lindberg
  • 3 Person Male Masters: The Three Amigos
    • Roger Reinert, Patrick Mullen, Glen Flanagan
  • 3 Person Female Open: Team Birkie
    • Caitlin Gregg, Felicia Gesior, Mary Hansen
  • 3 Person Female Masters: Team Summit
    • Carrie Bloom, Kelly O’Neill, Belinda Rogers
  • 3 Person Mixed Open: More Cowbells
    • Allison Cogbill, Christopher Cogbill, Thomas Cogbill
  • 3 Person Mixed Masters: Off the Rails
    • Beth Emerson, Mark Wise, Randy Larson
  • 6 Person Mixed Open: Pork N Beans
    • Hannah Henson, Nicole Roach, Andy Kreyer, Paul Schommer, Daniel Meier, Daniel Teran
  • 6 Person Mixed Masters: In our Happy Pace
    • Erik Paulsen, DLee Dreyer, Jodi Hotvet, Fred Scheer, Susan Scheer, Jennifer Paulsen
  • 6 Person Female Open: WTF? Where is the finish line?
    • Keli Ash, Alisa Lang, Shannon Johnson, Jessica Christensen, Amy Benson, Angela Benson
  • 6 Person Female Masters: Seeley Striders
    • Julie Kiss, Sydney Ringheim, Jewel Market, Julie Meyer, Kelly Skillicorn, Joy Keller

Additional results for age-class and relay events are available at

All running and trekking events took place on the scenic and rolling hills of the Birkie Trail and single-track sections of the CAMBA (Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association) trail system. The festival was rounded out with live music, great food, Birkie Brew-Ski craft beer, CXC experiential truck, and the Dive for the Dirt obstacle course for kids.

The 2018 Birkie Trail Run Festival is slated for September 29, 2018.

The Birkie Trail Run Festival is sponsored by: Salomon – Title Sponsor Birkie Trail Run Festival; CARLSON MD – Presenting Sponsor Marathon; FITS – Presenting Sponsor Marathon Relay; HydraPak – Presenting Sponsor Half-Marathon; The Rivers Eatery – Presenting Sponsor 100K Ultra-Marathon; Corner Deli – Post-Race Food & Beverage; GU – Official Energy; NUUN – Official Hydration; Hayward Area Memorial Hospital & Waters Edge – Presenting Sponsor: Dive for the Dirt.

About the American Birkebeiner® Ski Foundation and Birkie® Events

Located near Hayward and Cable, Wisconsin, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is known for its signature American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon held each February. Today, the Birkie brand has grown to encompass a year-round lifestyle that provides healthy, active events for thousands of outdoor fitness enthusiasts of all levels.
Birkie. Ski. Run. Bike. Live! Visit to learn more.

About the USATF – USA Track & Field

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information, visit:

About Salomon – Designed for Freedom

For more information about Salomon, visit

Posted October 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm