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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Birkebeiner race set new record

Even though more than a thousand of those registered for the weekend’s Birkebeiner ski race didn’t show up for the start, a total of 14,856 men and women did, and that set a new record for participation. As it turned out, neither of the winners of both elite categories were Norwegian.

The annual 54-kilometer Birkerbeiner race, which runs over the mountains from Rena in the valley of Østerdalen to Lillehammer in the valley of Gudbrandsdalen, is more popular than ever despite rising criticism that it mainly caters to middle-aged men trying to preserve their manhood. A variety of columnists over the weekend dismissed the race as an ego contest that can lead to much bragging in the office on Monday morning.

But that didn’t stop thousands from testing the bounds of their personal endurance, many having fun in the meantime. The winner of the men’s elite category was Stanislav Rezak, with long-distance Norwegian skiing star Anders Aukland claiming the best Norwegian result by placing fourth. Rezak, from the Czech Republic, skied the course in two hours, 39 minutes and 55 seconds, followed by Jörgen Brink and Jerry Ahrlin in second and third place, both from Sweden.

Serraina Boner of Switzerland had the best time for the women, of three hours, 11 minutes and 17 seconds. Jenny Hansson of Sweden placed second, and Sara Svendsen of Norway third.

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