Newly elected in 2020, I am excited for the opportunity to serve on the Birkie Board! While my home is in Stillwater, MN, I travel regularly to the Hayward/Cable area. My husband, Bruce, and I feel like Birkie land is our true home!

In 2002, I completed my first Birkie and was hooked. As a challenge two years ago, I completed both the Korte and the Birke when these events moved to the Friday/Saturday format. After I complete my 20th Birkie in 2022, I think the Korte will be my new favorite event! My husband and I have been co-chiefs of the Junior Birkie for six years…watching the amazing newest competitors in the sport. Over the past 10 years, I’ve participated in a variety of Birkie Trail Run events…different distances and different sections of the trail. Clearly, the American Birkebeiner has become a major part of my life!

For nearly four decades, I worked in public education as a teacher and administrator. I also had the pleasure of coaching high school and college athletes in cross country running, track and nordic skiing. It was a gift to share in the joy of physical accomplishments by so many athletes. My goal was always to help them do their best and be proud of their efforts! I believe this is important for those who attempt any American Birkebeiner event. The Birkie supports anyone who wants to challenge themselves and enjoy the results!

I’m looking forward to being part of the Birkie Board…especially as we move ahead through new challenges regarding health, safety and community.

Karen Manske