News Briefs: Rosie Brennan Runs Fast; Olympics Move to 4 x 7.5km Relay Format; 2029 World Champs Host Set


Rosie Brennan defends her title in Alaska Run for Women

The Alaska Run for Women, founded in 1993 and held in Anchorage every year since (albeit virtually a few times during Covid), is a long-running fundraiser for breast cancer and women’s health, as well as a chance for some fast athletes to throw down in a women’s-only road race. This year’s race was held last Saturday morning, amidst the not particularly estival conditions of wind, rain, and relatively cool temps that have characterized much of June in Anchorage thus far.

For the second year in a row, and the third time since 2018, Rosie Brennan was the first person across the finish line. The USST/APU athlete clocked 27:40 for the 5-mile race, averaging 5:32 for the lightly rolling course that circles the campuses of Alaska Pacific University and the University of Alaska Anchorage. Brennan now holds the course records for both the current UAA route and the Anchorage Football Stadium route previously used for much of this century; she clocked a 27:31 (5:30 pace) on that course in 2018.

For perspective, the second-place finisher in that 2018 race, Anna Dalton (27:35), was one of several Alaskan women to qualify for and race in the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. And third place on the all-time Alaska Run for Women list is held by Anchorage pathologist Chris Clark (27:36, 2002), who famously won the 2000 OTQ marathon after training inside all winter on a treadmill with the heat turned up.

In conclusion, Rosie Brennan is good at road running.

Results: 2023 overall | 2023 survivors | historic results and records

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Lahti to presumptively host 2029 world champs

This is sort of both old news, having first been announced a month ago, and still very far-off news, since we are talking about races still nearly six years in the future, but according to FIS there was a single application submitted for 2029 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships: from Lahti, Finland. In the absence of any competition, and assuming that the bid passes muster over the following year, Lahti is therefore presumptively the host of that event. A final decision will be made by FIS roughly one year from now.

Lahti has previously hosted world champs on seven other occasions, in 1926, 1938, 1958, 1978, 1989, 2001 (the “Lahti six” year), and 2017.

2025 world champs will be held in Trondheim, Norway. 2027 world champs will be in Falun, Sweden.

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Global championships relay format changes to 4 x 7.5km for both men and women

Male cross-country skiers have contested a 4 x 10-kilometer relay at the Winter Olympics since 1936. Women nordic skiers have competed in, well, a 3 x 5km relay from 1956–1972, then a 4 x 5km from 1976–2022. As for world championships, men first raced a 4 x 10km relay in Innsbruck in 1933, and have done so ever since.

(This has nothing to do with current news, but I also have to note that the interval-start 50km classic and the 4 x 10km relay at that 1933 world championships were held on successive days in February 1933. Two members of Sweden’s gold medal–winning relay team, Sven Utterström and Hjalmar Bergström, reached the podium in the 50km on Saturday and then in the relay on Sunday; Utterström was second in the longer race and Bergström third. The 50km took each man well over four hours, which frankly feels pretty fast to me given the ski and wax technology of the time.)

This year’s world championships relays in Planica were the swan song for both the 4 x 10km and the 4 x 5km relay formats. Following discussion at its spring meetings, FIS voted to move to a unified 4 x 7.5km relay going forward, for both men and women.

Other race formats at global championships will be the 10km interval start, 20km skiathlon (10km each of classic and skate), sprint, team sprint, and 50km mass start.

Historic Olympic champions in the men’s 4 x 10km relay, and women’s 3 x 5km and 4 x 5km relay, are as follows:

(photo: Wikipedia screenshot)
Yes Sweden has more men’s relay Olympic golds than Norway. Guess this is why Devon Kershaw is always so disappointed in the Swedish men these days. (photo: Wikipedia screenshot)

Arguments in favor of the unified 4 x 7.5km format include equality, efficiency, and the fact that the winning margin in the last two global championship 4 x 10km men’s relays was 46.9 seconds in Planica (this with Klæbo seemingly skiing L2 for most of his anchor leg) and 1:07.2 in Beijing, suggesting that the modern-day men’s field is simply not always competitive over the longer distances.

Arguments against the change include, clearly, tradition, as well as the fact that recent-ish margins of victory in the women’s 4 x 5km relay have been as small as 3.1 seconds at 2019 world champs, 2.0 seconds at the 2018 Olympics, and 0.5 seconds at the 2014 Olympics, suggesting that this format potentially already makes for a close and competitive race.

— Gavin Kentch


  1. I really enjoy the detail, historical perspective, and enthusiasm you bring to your reporting, ranging from local to World -class competition and events!! THANKS!!

    • Hi Ronn – Thanks so much for these kind words. I really appreciate it. I’m clearly having a blast here writing about skiing; hopefully that comes through in my work. If this humble site does something to help American skiing, so much the better. Thanks, Gavin.

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