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 Birkebeinerrennet

Birkebeinerrennet (The Birkebeiner race) is a long-distance cross-country ski marathon held annually in Norway. It is Norway´s race in the Worldloppet Ski Federation. The race starts at Rena and ends at Lillehammer, a distance of 54 km. The number of participants has been steadily increasing each year, and for the 2011 race, the limit was set at 16,000.

The Birkebeinerrennet is one of three races held under the Birkebeiner moniker, the other two being Birkebeinerrittet (bicycling) and Birkebeinerløpet (cross-country running). The Birkebeinerrennet run has been held since 1932, and commemorates a trip made by the Birkebeiner loyalists to save the infant pretender to the Norwegian throne, Håkon Håkonsson, in 1206. All participants carry a backpack weighing at least 3.5 kg, symbolizing the weight of the then-one-year-old king.

In 2007, the race was cancelled due to extremely high winds (90 km/h or 55 mph). However, at the time of cancellation, the event had been under way for nearly an hour, with roughly a quarter of the 13,000 competitors already on course. Despite the efforts of officials to send everyone back to the start, 55 hard-nosed Norwegians eventually reached the finish in Lillehammer, and upon being interviewed, blasted the decision to cancel the event.

The race has also been cancelled in 2014 15 minutes before the start also due to "high" winds of 15 m/s . But despite of the cancellation, thousands of skiers completed the route from Rena to Lillehammer (and from Lillehammer to Rena) and blasted the decision. Also the organizers decided not to give any refund, so the Norwegian Skiing Federation started an investigation for this case.



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