Hayward Lions 2014 Pre-Birkie

The Hayward Lions Club held their annual Pre-Birkie cross-country ski race on February 8, 2014. The morning of the 8th was cold and brisk–5 above zero at the start of the race. The workers at the various food stations were anxious to serve. The skiers were anxiously awaiting the starting gun. Finally the time for the race to begin was reached and 820 adult cross-country skiers streamed across Lake Hayward.

The food stations were manned by Youth as well as adult groups. At the food stations, the skiers had a choice of water, Hammer Nutrition Energy Drink, donuts and bananas. This year the Lions added a 2-kilometer or 4-kilometer “Leo Loppet” for kids. Thirty children participated in the “Leo Loppet”. Those races started at 10:30 a.m. The children racers were rewarded with special goodies along with a special T-shirt for participating in the “Leo Loppet”. The “Leo Loppet” is going to be a part of the Lions Pre-Birkie next year due to the success of the event this year. This is a great way for young people to get accumulated to cross-country ski racing.

The adults could choose between skiing 26 or 42 kilometers. Both of those races started on the ice near the city park and ended at Highway OO (Birkie warming cabin). For those doing the classic style there were six sets of tracks and the starting time was 9:30 a.m. (one-half hour prior to the freestyle race). Prizes were awarded to the top three skiers, male and female as well as the top finishers in each age class. For those finishing the longer races, they each received a special logo sweatshirt and refreshments at the finish line.

The winners of the 26K classical striders race were Jared Grootwasink of Eden Prairie, MN, in 1:30:16 (male) and Emily Kruic of St. Joseph, MN, in 1:59:38 (female). The winners of the 26K freestyle race were Alex Reich of Marine on St. Croix, MN, in 1:12:25 (male) and Megan Ping of Winona, MN, 1:25:18 (female). The winners of the 42K classical striders race were Jake Boyce of Duluth, MN in 2:19:21 (male) and Alyson Chapman of Lake Forest, IL in 3:27:5 (female). The winners of the 42K freestyle race were Adam Swank folk Duluth, MN in 2:01:42 (Male) and Nicolette Reker of St. Paul, MN, in 2:20:08 (female)

Megan Ping of Winona, MN was quoted as saying the race conditions “were awesome”. Bob Olson, Pre-Birkie race coordinator, was very pleased with such a fine turn-out (820 adults and 30 children) and was also glad the weather ended up being a near perfect day for skiing.

The cargo-load spaghetti meal served on Friday, February 7 at the Veterans Center was very well attended. Derek Winters introduced his “soon to be world famous” spaghetti sauce. The meal was co-chaired by Nancy Nelson and Derek Winters. They served about 200 customers.