The Birkebeinerrennet is one of three races held under the Birkebeiner moniker, the other two being Birkebeinerrittet (bicycling) and Birkebeinerløpet (cross-country running).
Researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University found that the metabolic cost for modern ski models is about 2.5 J/kg*m as compared to about 5 J/kg*m for ski models dated 542 AD. They also estimated maximum cross country speed for the 542 AD ski to 5 m/s, compared to about 12 m/s for modern cross country skis; for long distance skiing (several hours) results were 3 and 7 m/s respectively. This corresponds to about 5 hours for the original 1206 AD Birkebeiner flight.
Skiing Birchlegs Crossing the Mountain with the Royal Child, painted by Knud Bergslien. Painting located at The Ski Museum. Holmenkollen, Oslo, Norway.
The Birkebeinerrennet run has been held since 1932, and commemorates a trip made by the Birkebeiner loyalists Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka to save the infant heir to the Norwegian throne, Håkon Håkonsson, in 1206. All participants carry a backpack weighing at least 3.5 kg, symbolizing the weight of the then one-year-old king.
Till 1991 the start city was 1 year Lillehamer (finish Rena) and then the next year Rena (finish Lillehamer). Last year  In Lillehamer the start was on the site where the now the skijumparea is built for the winter Olympics 1994.
In 2007, the race was cancelled due to extremely high winds (90 km/h or 55 mph). However, at the time of cancellation, the event had been under way for nearly an hour, with roughly a quarter of the 13,000 competitors already on course. Despite the efforts of officials to send everyone back to the starting point, 55 competitors eventually reached the finish in Lillehammer, and upon being interviewed, blasted the decision to cancel the event .
The race has also been cancelled in 2014 15 minutes before the start also due to high winds of 15 m/s . Despite the cancellation, thousands of skiers completed the route from Rena to Lillehammer (and from Lillehammer to Rena) and criticized the decision . The organizers also decided not to give any refunds, which caused an investigation by the Norwegian Skiing Federation.
In 2002, the race was included as the last event in the FISWorld Cup. The World Cup class was won by Thomas Alsgaard and Anita Moen Guidon finishing in
respectively, faster than both Rezac's and Hilde GP's records as of 2008. The participants in the World Cup class were, however, not required to carry the 3.5 kg backpack.