Birkebeiner participants gear up for race day despite poor condi - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Birkebeiner participants gear up for race day despite poor conditions

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HAYWARD, WI -

Hayward is entering the final stages of preparation for the annual American Birkebeiner. 

However, the unseasonable temperatures and lack of snow have thrown a wrench in their plans. 

The warm weather hasn't deterred the crowd here in Hayward, as a number of people were out on Thursday, putting the finishing touches on race day preparations, and trying to be optimistic about the weather. 

Racers were out in full force at the race packet pickup lines on Thursday trying to remain optimistic about the less than ideal conditions. 

"It's unfortunate with the sticks and the grass, and the rocks, and the water - it's going to be unfortunate. But hopefully it will get better, we're hoping for a lot of snow tomorrow." Said racer Mark Schaenzer. 

The event draws people from all over the world, including one Berkie first timer from Sweden. 

"Well, I've just heard it's been better every other year, so that's why I came this year. But it should be good. At least there will be some skiing, and I'm looking forward to that."  Said Erik Rylander. 

Over 11,000 people register for the weekend full of events, many planning on skiing, but now crossing their fingers. 

"Hopefully we'll be able to ski some, and if we can ski, that will be a bonus. If it turns into something else, we will make lemonade out of lemons." Said Julie Vircus, making the trip for her 20th Berkie. 

The talk amongst the racers on Thursday, was all about what the trails look like. 

"Right now it's ice. I think that we're going to require several inches of snow to have an event at all." Said Gustaf Vircus. 

Snow or no snow, people remain steadfast on their commitment to the weekend.

"I don't think you should bail just because the conditions are not quite to your liking. So, whatever happens, we're going to have a good time."  Said Vircus. 

Birkie organizer Nancy Knutson said race, city, trail and operations officials will be having a meeting on Friday to try and determine what the safest option is. for the race.

That might be a shorter one way race, it could be an a run instead of skiing, as well as several other options they are exploring.

Despite the poor conditions, Knutson said they have plenty of backup plans in place to make sure that the 11,000 participants have a fun weekend. 

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