Race around the park

42nd annual Marine-O’Brien Cross-Country Ski race set Sunday

MARINE ON ST. CROIX — The 42nd Annual Marine O’Brien Cross-Country Ski Race is Sunday at William O’Brien State Park north of Marine on St. Croix on Minnesota Highway 95.

Skiers of all abilities are invited to the beautiful St. Croix River valley to participate in this fun community and family event. Local residents are encouraged to come to William O’Brien Park to cheer on their friends and neighbors and make some noise for the finishers.

Again this year we are hosting the 25km classic and skate races “twice around the park”. The longer distance races are great tune-ups for those skiing February loppets. The 12.5km classic and skate races “once around the park” continue drawing skiers of all abilities to enjoy a beautiful day in William O’Brien State Park. Kid’s races of age appropriate distances are again in the afternoon this year when it is warmer, and now the kid’s races fall in line with the weekly ski meetings of the St. Croix Valley Ski Club.

Honoring the history of the race, organizers are hosting the 6 km “Out There Wood Ski Tour.” So dust off those wood skis, oil up your leather boots, pull your wool knickers and socks out of the moth balls and get Out There for a fun ski tour.

Registration can be completed on-line at http://www.zapevent.com/listactivities.aspx?eventid=3134 prior to Noon Friday. Sunday morning registration is at the park Visitor Center. It begins at 9 a.m. and goes until 30 minutes prior the start of each race.

The first 100 adult skiers registered receive a 42nd Annual Marine/O’Brien Ski Race hat. The first 50 skiers registered in the “Out There Wood Ski Tour” receive a commemorative tour ski bib sponsored by Out There Nordic Sports and Camping of Rice Lake, Wis.

Event start times are: Out There Wood Ski 6 KM Tour at 10:10 a.m.; the 12.5 and 25 kilometer classic races start at 10:30, and the 12.5 and 25 kilometer skate races start at 11. Pre-registration for adult races cost $35 with special pricing for high school athletes of $15.  Race day registration is $45 for adults and $25 for high school athletes. The Wood Ski Tour pre-registration is $18 and tour day is $28.

The children’s races for ages 2 to 13 years feature the 3 and under “100-meter dash;” 4- and 5-year olds “ half-kilometer sprint;” 6- to 9-year olds “2K thriller,” and 10- to 13-year olds “6K mad dash.” Registration is 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Kid’s races will start at 1:45 p.m. Kid’s race pre-registration is $10 per child, race day is $15. Three or more children from one family pre-registered are $25 or $35 race day total. Kids 5 years and under are free pre-registered or $12 race day. All participating children receive a ribbon upon completion of the race.

Past participants of this race have gone on to become Minnesota state high school Nordic champions, U.S. Ski Team Biathletes, U.S. Nordic Ski National Champions and Olympians.

Area merchants and manufacturers are donating prizes, gift certificates and other goodies for overall champions in each event and age group category, as well as, items for raffle after the awards ceremony. All proceeds from the race will benefit youth skiing through the St. Croix Valley Ski Club and the William O’Brien Ski Trails.

Marine Ski Shop owners Ralph and Marian Malberg, Gary Olin, and Bill and Tina Hawkinson got this all going on wooden skis imported from Norway 42 years ago. The race used to start at the Marine Elementary School with a mad dash across the ball fields where it funneled into a single file track into the woods to get into William O’Brien State Park. Broken bamboo poles were the norm.

For further information contact Everett Myers, phone 651-644-2800, e-mail [email protected]