Petter Northug had earned a substantial lead early in the men’s 50K race when he stopped to take a leak on the side of the course. When asked about the incident, Northug simply shrugged his shoulders and said “when you gotta go, you gotta go.”
“It’s a long ways to go, so you have plenty of time to work your way back up,” Northug explained.
Northug dropped to 35th place, but was able to work himself back up to the front and won the race by a solid margin – almost 40 seconds separated Northug from second place.
“There was a packed field and it snowed quite a bit, so it was an advantage to attack from behind,” Northug said to the Norwegian news agency NTB after the race.
“I came here with the 50K title in mind, and it was really fun to win the 50K at the nationals. I’ve never won the 50K at the Norwegian Nationals before. That was really fun,” said Northug, who also won the King’s Award, the most treasured trophy awarded to Norwegian athletes in any sport.
Morten Eilifsen was third in the 50K, after deciding to give away the silver by waiting for Chris Andre Jespersen and letting him finish ahead. Jespersen had done a large part of the pulling throughout the race.
Bjoergen wins women’s 30K
In the women’s 30K skate, Marit Bjoergen won another Norwegian national title, but just like Northug, Bjoergen has never won the marathon distance at the Norwegian nationals before.
“It was a really hard race, and nothing came for free today. But it was really fun and a great atmosphere all along the course. And I guess I’ve never won the 30K at nationals before,” Bjoergen said to NTB after the race.
Therese Johaug was second, beaten by Bjoergen in a sprint finish.
“It was a hard race, but Marit was stronger than me in the sprint today, so I can’t complain about second place. It’s fun to end the season like this,” Johaug said.
Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen was third.
In the classic team sprint on Friday, Petter Northug won the national championship gold medal along with club teammate John Kristian Dahl. Johan Kjoelstad and Eldar Roenning were second, eight seconds behind Northug and Dahl.
In the women’s team sprint, Celine Brun-Lie (who raced for Norway at the 2011 World Championships in Oslo earlier this winter) won the gold medal with teammate Britt Ingunn Nydal. Martine Ek Hagen and Heidi Weng won the silver just a few small seconds behind.
The marathon distance races on Saturday concluded the second part of the Norwegian Senior Nationals.
Complete results from the 50K Saturday here.
Complete results from the 30K Saturday here.
Complete results men’s team sprint here.
Complete results women’s team sprint here.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.