Thankful for the Event, Enthusiastic Runners Embraced Safety Guidelines
Cable, WI (September 26, 2020) – Spectacular autumn leaves and seasonal temps welcomed smiling runners and trekkers to the 19th Annual Birkie Trail Run, hosted by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF), at the American Birkebeiner Trailhead, Cable, WI. The 2020 Birkie Trail Run, presented by Salomon, looked a bit differently than in past years as it was spread over two-days’ time allowing runners and trekkers to safely participate in an ultramarathon, ultramarathon relay, marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 5K, or Nordic Trek event.
Throughout the planning process, the ABSF worked closely with Bayfield County Public Health to ensure all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local public health guidelines were in place for the Birkie Trail Run. To comply with state and local COVID-19 guidelines protocols were in place leading up to and during the event, including: drive-up bib pick-up; introduction of a race specific FM radio channel for coordination in calling runners from their cars to the start corrals in a controlled manner; masks required at the start, finish, and in common areas; socially distanced start corrals limited to 30 participants at a time; touchless hydration stations; elimination of post-race celebration, opting instead for a grab-n-go snack bag to eliminate gathering of people; no spectators on site: limited volunteers on the course; a selfie board to capture a runner’s accomplishment and later share with friends and family; starting nearly every event only after the previous event was completed to control the number of people on site at any given time; elimination of single track trails throughout all races, opting instead for the wide Birkie Trails to allow for social distancing.
“We’re very pleased with how enthusiastic and cooperative all participants were during the Birkie Trail Run events, said Ben Popp, ABSF executive director. “We are thankful we were able to provide a safe environment and an inspiring experience for so many runners and trekkers.”
Saturday’s running events started early with the ultramarathon (100 kilometers) at 5:30 am. Ultramarathon runners left the American Birkebeiner Trailhead with headlamps aglow as they made their way into the woods and the beginning of their journey on the Birkie Trail. The ultramarathon runners, proving their endurance and determination, were the first to start and last to finish their event. Andrew Schroeder, Madison, WI, took the win for a second year in a row.
Birkie Ultramarathon Champions – Men
1st Place – Andrew Schroeder – Madison, WI, 8:55:14.55
2nd Place – Eric Brandt – Bloomington, MN, 10:07:37.74
3rd Place – Robert Mitchell – Rochester, MN, 10:41:38.74
Birkie Ultramarathon Champions – Women
1st Place – Mercedes Siegle-Gaither – Pagosa Springs, CO, 12:34:56.02
2nd Place – Christianne Lind – Minneapolis, MN, 13:28:40.15
3rd Place – Katie Sherman – Minneapolis, MN, 13:28:43.90
USATF Trail Half Marathon Championship
Once again, the ABSF hosted the USATF Half Marathon Trail Championships as part of the Birkie Trail Run Festival. In the women’s race, a battle for the national trail championship title was waged early on between Janelle Lincks, 26, Boulder, CO, and Dani Moreno, 28, Santa Barbara, CA. By mile 10, Moreno had taken the lead and built a nearly two-minute cushion over Lincks. Moreno charged to the win in 1:21:28, followed by Lincks in 1:23:16. Wetsch finished third in 1:25:36.
“We all say that the [Birkie Trail] elevation isn’t that much, but it’s constant. It just takes a lot of strength and speed,” said Dani Moreno, USATF Trail Half Marathon Champion. “I’m from California so places like this only exist in the movies. It’s so gorgeous, the colors are beautiful. It was great to be back and racing,” she finished.
USATF National Half Marathon Champions & Birkie Half Marathon Champions – Women
1st Place – Dani Moreno – Santa Barbara, CA, 1:21:28.11
2nd Place – Janelle Lincks – Boulder, CO, 1:23:16.53
3rd Place – Bria Wetsch – Broomfield, CO, 1:25:36.18
In the men’s race, it was a runaway from the start with Andy Wacker, 32, Boulder, CO, leading by more than two and a half minutes by the 4.5-mile point. Running in second place was Adam Condit, 37, Eau Claire, WI, followed by first-time trail racer Patrick Brady, 34, Madison, WI. The altitude-trained Wacker sped to the finish line timed in 1:13:55, well ahead of Condit’s 1:18:26. Brady cruised to the finish in fourth posting a time of 1:21:23
“It’s 2020 and it’s such a strange year, but the race did a great job of making us feel safe,” said Adam Wacker, USATF Trail Half Marathon Champion. “It’s really nice to come back and get a win, and here at the Birkie it means even more,” he continued.
USATF National Half Marathon Champions & Birkie Half Marathon Champions – Men
1st Place – Andy Wacker – Boulder, CO, 1:13:55.03
2nd Place – Adam Condit – Eau Claire, WI 1:18:26.76
3rd Place – Patrick Brady – Madison, WI, 1:21:33.71
Prize money totaling $1600 was distributed with Wacker and Moreno each taking home $500 and Lincks and Condit earning $250 each. Brady and Wetsch each netted $100.
The events continued throughout the weekend, including Birkie Trail Run Marathon, Marathon Relay, Nordic Trek, and 5K.
Birkie Marathon Champions – Men
1st Place – Evan Wetzel – Waukesha, WI, 2:50:27.23
2nd Place – Chris Pappathopoulos – Sun Prairie, WI, 2:58:32:56
3rd Place – John Bauer – Hayward, WI, 3:05:47.22
Birkie Marathon Champions – Women
1st Place – Rachel Ragona – Eau Claire, WI, 3:26:42.14
2nd Place – Stacey Marion – Madison, WI, 3:30:38.34
3rd Place — Josie Nelson – Hayward, WI, 3:46:11.99
Birkie 5 Kilometer – Men
1st Place – Tristan Price – Minneapolis, MN, 23:37.23
2nd Place – Tony Schubert – Des Moines, IA, 24:24.95
3rd Place – Jim Kyle – Verona, WI, 25:16.80
Birkie 5 Kilometer – Women
1st Place – Erin Schmitt, Sheboygan, WI, 23:10.25
2nd Place – C. McKenzie — Cedarburg, WI, 23:16:83
3rd Place – Nancy Hobbs – Colorado Springs, CO, 24:04.05
Additional results for age-class and ultramarathon relay and marathon relay events are available at Birkie.com.
The 20th Birkie Trail Run Festival is slated for September 25, 2021. Registration opens January 1, 2021.
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;
SIDAS – Presenting Sponsor 100K Ultramarathon and Ultramarathon Relay; Corner
Deli – Post-Race Snack Bag; Earth Rider Brewery – Official Beer of the Birkie; Clif – Official Bar; GU – Official Energy; NUUN – Official On-Course Hydration; Kemps – Official Recovery;
Anderson’s Maple Syrup – Official Maple Syrup of the Birkie; Hayward Coffee Co.; Marketplace Foods; Timber Ford of Hayward – Official Year-Round Birkie Volunteer Sponsor.