Stanslav Rezac (CZE) out-sprinted Norweigan Anders Aukland to win the 2008 Norweigan Birkebeiner. Rezac posted a new record time on a beautiful sunny day, finishing in 2:24:33. Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) finished third, matching his result of several weeks ago in the Swedish Vasaloppet. Joergen Aukland (NOR), the winner of the Vasaloppet took fourth, 1 second behind Ahrlin. Olympic Champion Frode Estil (NOR) finished 9th.
Brian McKeever, of Canada, posted an impressive 18th place finish, just under 12 minutes in back of Rezac.
Josh Smullin was the top American in 41st, +21 minutes.
Hilde Gjermundshaug Pedersen won the women's elite class with a record time of 2:52:04. The World Cup veteran Pedersen skied away from Tatiana Jambaeva (RUS). Jambaeva finished third in the Engadin Ski Marathon the week before. Marathon specialist Elin Ek (SWE) took the final podium spot.
In the Norweigan Birkebeiner, skiers choose to race in either their age class or in the elite wave and are ranked only within the class they choose. For example, Brian McKeever, 18th in the men's elite race, would have been 6th in the men's 25-29 age class. This does not count the skiers ahead of him in the elite class. Only 13 women started in the elite category as compared to 76 men.
Overall, 10,426 skiers finished the race.
Last year the Birkebeiner was halted part way through due to the high winds, the first time in the 75 year history of the race that it was canceled.