The husband-and-wife team of Erik and Marine Bjornsen, both former world-class Nordic skiing competitors, demonstrated that they can also cover ground pretty well without skis at last weekend’s Sunflower Marathon, Half-Marathon & Relay. Erik Bjornsen was the overall winner in the marathon, while Marine won the half-marathon.
Erik’s Bjornsen’s time was 3 hours, 13 minutes over the rugged course. Second place overall went to Jesse White of Carlton. Taylor Ganz of Seattle was the top finisher in the women’s category, taking third overall behind White. Laura Stamp of Twisp was fourth overall.
Marine Bjornsen finished the half-marathon in 1 hour, 37 minutes, about a minute head of the top male finisher, Josh Warner of Portland.
Last year, Erik retired from more than a decade of competition in Nordic skiing as a member of the U.S. Ski Team. He twice represented the U.S. in the Olympics.
Marine, a native of France, competed for the French National Biathlon Team and was a three-time All-American competing for University of Alaska-Anchorage before she moved to coaching that school’s Nordic team. She’s not a newcomer to running, having won the women’s division of a marathon in Alaska in 2019.
The Bjornsens are co-owners of Winthrop Mountain Sports, which they purchased in 2020 with Eric Purpus and Kelly Bollinger.
Registration for the races, organized by Methow Trails and conducted under COVID protocols, closed early at 500 participants. The full marathon course started in Mazama and ended near Twisp. The half-marathon began at Sun Mountain Chickadee Trailhead and ended at the same Twisp finish line.