Up North: Familiar face, and photo finish at the 48th annual Birkebeiner

The Birkie is the longest Nordic race in America, clocking in at 55 kilometers starting all the way in Cable Wisconsin, and ending in Hayward. All the while becoming the event of the season for over 13,000 skiers and spectators that visit.
"Honestly it’s really impressive, skiing is a hard sport and seeing everyone involved with it makes me really happy. We are also are stalking them on the app so we can see how far they are in the race, and hoping to see them when the race finishes, so that will be exciting," said spectator Rena Henrick.

As the first women racers approached the finish line, leading the pack and claiming her third Birkie win was Alayna Sonnesyn, who placed first in the women’s 50 kilometer skate.

"I grew up doing the junior Burkie and even though this is the third time winning this race every single time I’m out on those trails it means a lot to me and this is no exception. Today I knew the field was really deep going into the race and there was some fierce competitors out there and they were going to make me fight for it. That’s exactly what the women did," said Sonnesyn.

Gerard Agnellet of France has competed in events all across Europe, was the top finisher in the men’s race in a super close photo finish with North Pole, Alaska native David Norris. Each of the gentlemen finished with the time of 2:07:24 but Agnellet would cross just a hair ahead of Norris.

"He says thank you for the warm welcome and he has had such a great time today and he’s so happy to have won today.He said 4 years ago he came here and he said that it’s such a beautiful course he is so happy to be back here because it’s one of the most beautiful courses he’s skied," claimed Agnellet.