Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Birkie 2010
by Lisa Yunek
Abundant snow and groomed local trails set the stage for five Mason City competitors to record personal finish times in the 2010 American Birkebeiner 50k Cross Country Ski Race. Before the race the Mason City group was preparing. "This is an unpredictable race. The goal is to finish," said skier Robert Polking. Evan Peterson agreed. "I hope everyone finishes and is safe." He was referring to the arduous nature of the many steep hills, turns, and trees on the trail. Not only is it a marathon course but one of the most difficult in terms of endurance needed simply to finish.
It was a record breaking Birkie event. The sun shone brightly, the trail was in great condition and records were set. Italian Fabio Santus broke the previous Birkie record with a winning time of 1:56:58.6. Record numbers of skiers participated in the many events (over 10,000). Citizens of 20 different countries and 47 US states were represented.
The contingent from Mason City followed suit. Dwight Beavers placed 2nd out of 15 for skiers aged 70 - 74. Robert Polking and Joel Yunek broke through their previous three hour barriers and finished with 2:51 and 2:48 respectively. First time racers Todd Juhlin (3:03) and Evan Peterson (2:50) completed their races with times sure to place them in top seeded waves for next year.
Competing in the 23k Kortelopet event was Jordan Angel, currently at ISU and Gunther Langhart, formerly of Mason City both first-time Kortie skiers finished in the top 30 percent of nearly 2500 skiers.
About the Birkie: Celebrating its 37th year, the American Birkebeiner (1-800-USA-BRKE; www.birkie.com), February 25-27, 2010, is the largest and most prestigious cross country ski marathon in North America. Spanning more than 50 kilometers from Cable to Hayward, the Birkie is part of the Worldloppet series of 15 international races, and part of the lives of citizen skiers from around the world. Sponsors of Birkie include Subaru, Becker Law, Marshfield Clinic-Hayward Center, Johnson Bank, Swiss Miss, Salomon, Hammer Energy, Sawyer County Record and other businesses throughout the region and country. Find out more at http://www.birkie.com or call 715/634-5025.