Outdoor Center News
Green Racing Project Takes on American Birkebeiner
Last Updated: 27.Feb.2018
Among the 10,000+ skiers competing in the American Birkebeiner on February 24, a few bright green suits battled their way along the 50k trail between Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin. This year’s edition of the Birkie, unlike last year’s cancelled race, was blessed with ample snow. As part of the Worldloppet and SuperTour circuit, both the men’s and women’s races featured a strong international field.
The women’s elite skate wave was among the first to leave the start area in Cable. In the field of around 60 elite women, Liz Guiney crossed the finish line in 7th, and biathlete/emerging marathon specialist Hallie Grossman finished 8th in her first Birkie. The men’s elite skate wave left the start in Cable twenty minutes after the women and caught them with around 5k remaining. The lead men’s pack never split like the women’s, which meant that over 20 men crossed the line in Hayward within a minute of the winner. Ben Lustgarten placed 9th, only 7.0 seconds out, and Adam Martin, in his first Birkie, took 13th, 16.5 seconds out.
The Birkie finishers this year also included a large number of GRP alumni. Heather Mooney, skiing for Bridger Ski Foundation, took 20th in the elite women’s wave, which was also her first Birkie finish. Maria Stuber, who coaches for the College of St. Scholastica, was 34th in the elite women’s wave, and 5th in the women’s 30-34. Her husband Bryan Cook finished an impressive 29th in the elite men’s wave, 3rd in his age group of 30-34. Matt Briggs of Bend, Oregon took 42nd in the men’s elite wave, 5th in his age group (30-34). Also, more recent alum Gordon Vermeer placed 104th in the men’s elite wave after doing much of his Birkie training on rollerskis, and will live to fight another day in the men’s elite wave. GRP rowing coach and former GRP rower Steve Whelpley successfully finished his Birkie even with self-proclaimed “very little ski training”. Results from the Birkie 50k skate are available here.
Following the Birkie, several of the GRP, including Liz Guiney, Adam Martin, and Ben Lustgarten will fly over to Europe to compete in OPA Cup races in Italy and Spain. Stay tuned for results from those races starting on March 3.