The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many events to be canceled or majorly modified since last March. Thankfully the organizers of the 47th Annual Birkebeiner Race have come up with a solution this year for the race to happen. Their will be quite a few changes in place, but it is all for the health of the athletes, organizers and volunteers.

In a normal year the race attracts around 30,000 people between athletes and spectators, so it was key that organizers came up with a plan. The numbers this year will not be as high for the simple fact that no spectators will be allowed and they also cut down on volunteers on the course.

Some of the other changes are: the races will be spread out over five days this year, with only 1,500 skiers allowed per day. Which allows them less people out on the race course at a time. Also, there will be no warming tents or transportation for skiers. And the race will start and end in Cable Wisconsin.

"Birkie" Race Director, Ben Popp said: 

One of the neat things is that we will be able to transmit to people's radios, we'll have a local frequency so they can sit in their cars and wait to find out exactly when it's their time. And instead of having people there handing you food and water staff has come up with really innovative ideas on how to distribute water.

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The Birkebeiner runs the week of February 24th to the 28th. If you do not feel safe a virtual option is available on their app. I have a good friend who lives in St. Paul and  races in the "Berkie" every year. She has always said how cool it is to see and hear the crowds on parts of the trail and they are a big motivator, but understands that her music alone will have to get her through the race this year. She like many of the athletes are just happy that the race is happening at all.

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