Ever heard of the American Birkebeiner? It’s a cross country ski race in Wisconsin that starts in Cable and ends in Hayward. Skiers choose from three trails, the 23K Kortelopet Trail, the 50K Birkie Trail, or the 54K Birkie Classic Trail.
Team Fox member Mark Gherty will participate in his 24th Birkebeiner event this Saturday, February 25. He’s raising money for Team Fox to honor his sister, Barb, who has Parkinson’s disease. The Hudson Star-Observer interviewed Mark last week and we followed up to learn more about this event. Please join us in wishing him good luck!
Team Fox: What was it like for you/your family when Barbara was first diagnosed with PD?
Mark Gherty: Barb has always been a very strong and positive person. I felt guilty going public with her diagnosis, but she has been supportive. She has always dealt with what life presents. To be very blunt my first reaction was, “Crap”.
TF: How does Barbara feel about you doing this to raise money for Parkinson’s?
MG: She is very supportive. As I say in the article, “she has always been my biggest cheerleader.” She is so grateful to the MJFF for its work and contributions, as am I.
TF: It says on your Team Fox page that this is your 24th Birkie (wow!) – when did you get into this race? And what about it makes you keep coming back?
MG: This is actually my 30th consecutive year participating. I have also completed 5 of the ½ races (the Korteloppet). I have been participating in cross country skiing since 1973. Living in NW Wisconsin it is best to embrace winter. There is a song about the Birkie that states, “the Birkie gets in your soul”… There will be 8000 skiers starting next Saturday. Please check out www.birkie.org.