Skiers from 36 countries & 49 States Compete in the 44th Annual Race
HAYWARD, WI (Feb. 24, 2018) – Cold overnight conditions and freshly groomed trails set the stage for a fast and firm course for the 44th Slumberland American Birkebeiner ski marathon. Anders Gloersen, Oslo, Norway took the men’s title and Caitlin Gregg, Minneapolis, MN, skied into the record books with her fifth victory, the most wins ever, man or woman. Gregg finished with a time of 2:23:30.3 in the 50K freestyle race, just 2.5 seconds before Maria Graefnings of Sweden with a time of 2:23:32.9. Chelsea Holmes of Girdwood, Alaska, rounded out the podium with a time of 2:23:34.2 for third place. In the men’ freestyle race, Gloersen raced to the finish with a time of 2:02:29.6, with Ivan Perrillat-Boiteux, France, just 1.9 seconds behind with a time of 2:02:31.6. On his heels, third place went to American Kyle Bratrud, of Verona, Wisconsin with a time of 2:02:33.1.
“It was a great race with perfect conditions on the race course. I had the perfect position to go into the last 300 meters. It was a good race for me and I’m happy with my results,” said, Anders Gloersen of Norway. “It was a beautiful trail with good competitors.”
“I tried to set the bar pretty high for the next person to come along and break that record. The conditions were absolutely perfect, the course was in amazing shape. This is one of my favorite races, that’s why I keep coming back,” said Gregg, of her fifth win. “Everything about it from the organization to the volunteers makes this a really special event for all of the competitors. It was such a special day to fight for the win.”
The morning started out crisp with temps near zero. By the end of the race, sunny skies drove temps to 34 degrees at the finish line, a perfect day for spectators and volunteers alike. Thousands of spectators lined Hayward’s snow-covered Main Street, ringing cowbells, eating brats, celebrating with friends, and watching the kaleidoscope of colors as skiers passed by.
Midwest skiers swept the classic titles of the 55K race with Benjamin Saxton, Lakeville MN in first (2:47:35.9), Cole Morgan, Bozeman, MT, in second place (2:47:37.4), and Mathias Rolid, Marquette, MI (2:47:42.0) in third place. For the women, Felicia Gesior, Verona, was at the top of the podium (3:08:07.3), followed by Brandy Stewart, Bozeman, MT in second (3:19:02.1), and Josie Nelson, Medicine Lake, MN taking the third spot (3:19:28.2).
The excitement at the 2018 Birkie was palpable with a strong showing of elite athletes from around the globe. This year’s race found competitors from 36 countries and 49 states competing in this, North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon.
Friday’s 29-kilometer Kortelopet race, finishing for the first time on Hayward’s snow-covered Main Street had a strong field of competitors. The Kortelopet has a long legacy of elite skiers winning the race including Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins’ who won the Kortelopet twice in the earlier days of her skiing career.
Kortelopet 29K Race – Friday, February 23, 2018
- 1st Men’s Skate – Joshua Albrecht, Stillwater, MN – 1:23:09.3
- 2nd Men’s Skate – Kieran Mullen, Hazelhurst, WI – 1:23:10.0
- 3rd Men’s Skate – Joseph Lynch, St. Anthony Village, MN – 1:23:16.2
- 1st Women’s Skate – Olivia Dreger, Marathon, WI – 1:35:25.8
- 2nd Women’s Skate – Samantha Kurkowski, Roseville, MN 1:38:11.5
- 3rd Women’s Skate – Greta Jenkins, Palmer, AK – 1:40:42.2
- 1st Men’s Classic – Jackson Adler, Green Bay, WI – 1:35:57.6
- 2nd Men’s Classic – Kyle Thierne, Green Bay, WI – 1:36:42.3
- 3rd Men’s Classic – Matthew Egger, Edina, MN – 1:37:07:0
- 1st Women’s Classic – Abigail Jarzin, Green Bay, WI – 1:44:50.1
- 2nd Women’s Classic – Siri Bohacek, Afton, MN – 1:48:39.0
- 3rd Women’s Classic – Johanna Craig, Tomahawk, WI – 1:51:23.1
The 45th Annual Slumberland American Birkebeiner week of festivities is slated for February 21-24, 2019.