Barnebirkie Draws Thousands to Hayward

By KBJR News 1

February 21, 2013 Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 6:17 PM CST

Hayward, WI (NNCNOW.com)-- In a sea of color on a blanket of white is a mother waiting patiently with little anxiety.

"She belongs to Nordic Ski Club and she skis every Sunday," said Angelina Portoluri of Cable, WI.

Because skiing is what you do in the Northwood's of Wisconsin, which makes Hayward the perfect location for a race that attracts thousands of kids.

"It's sorta like skiing the Birke but with a lot of younger people," said Erik Shelerud, who competed in the 5k race.

Preceding the Birkebeiner, the Barnebirkie brings out parents, kids, and K-9's for a race stretching one, three, or five kilometers.

"The first loop I was really going fast and I felt good," said Shelerud.

Some kids use it as training for the American Birkebeiner and others embrace the fun.

It's a taste of the main street finish before the main event commences.

The American Birkebeiner begins Saturday morning.

This year is the 40th time the race has kicked off in Cable.