About a month ago, Tiril Eckhoff announced the end of her biathlon career. Now the Norwegian has returned to the cross-country ski run. But without a gun. On Sunday, the 32-year-old competed against some of the best cross-country skiers in the world in a traditional marathon race.
Although her active biathlon career is officially over, Tiril Eckhoff cannot yet completely leave the sport behind. And so the two-time Olympic champion returned to the cross-country ski trail on Sunday and started at the 30th anniversary of the traditional “Svalbard Skimarathon”.
In the race over 42 kilometers Eckhoff dueled with some of the best cross-country skiers in the world. Also at the start were overall World Cup winner Tiril Udnes Weng and relay world champion and defending champion Anne Kjersti Kalvå. And even if Eckhoff couldn’t quite hold a candle to them, the ex-biathlete still knew how to convince.
Ex-biathlon star runs into the top 10
In the overall standings, the 32-year-old ended up in a strong seventh place in the women’s competition, 22:03 minutes behind the winner Kalvå. In the 31 to 40 age group, Eckhoff was even the second best of all runners. Only Kalvå was faster than them in this category. A great success for Eckhoff, who announced her retirement from active sport a few weeks ago.
The traditional race on Spitsbergen has been held since 1993 and is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. The marathon in the Arctic wilderness is geographically considered the northernmost in the world. Because, among other things, there is a risk of a polar bear attack, the route is secured by armed security forces.
Tiril Eckhoff had to end her active biathlon career this year after missing the entire World Cup season. First, the Norwegian suffered from the consequences of a corona infection for a long time, then she was plagued by severe sleep disorders.
Although she tried again and again last winter to start training. But her body did not react to the high stress as she had hoped. And so she too decided to put the rifle in the corner once and for all. Alongside Marte Olsbu Røiseland and Denise Herrmann-Wick, she was the most prominent and successful biathlete to retire this year.