2 pm: Recap: Big day for Powerslide. Jorge Botero wins the open pro men's division; Briana Kramer wins the open pro women's division.
Details of the master and veterans races have been sketchy so far.
One thing seems clear: The Chicagoland Inline Marathon and the Keep Fit America Skate Tour were a big hit with skaters. Apparently, about 500 skaters participated ... at least at last count.
12:55 pm: Post-race interview with Briana Kramer: Powerslide's Briana Kramer said she used the mid-race sprints to help gauge the competition and devise a winning strategy.
The 17-year-old from Kissimmiee, FL, won both of the mid-race sprints, which earned skaters points in the 4-stage tour. Based on that, she expected no competition in the final sprint at the end of the marathon.
Kramer said she usually tries to breakaway before the end of a marathon so she can't be caught in the sprint. But today, "I kind of drafted on the final lap and waited for the sprint."
After the final turn, the lead women looked around at each other and waiting for someone to make a move.
Kramer was boxed in between Morgane Echardour and Nikki Mejia but she squeezed by them and started her sprint. "I didn't see anyone after that," she said.
She stood up before the finish line and won by a comfortable margin.
Cado Motus' Nikki Mejia, 14, finished second. Echardour was third.
The marathon ended a busy week of racing for Kramer, who arrived in Hoffman Estates this weekend after finishing third overall at Indoor Nationals.
12:35 pm: Post-race interview with Peter Doucet: Speed Skate World's Peter Doucet, 31, of Ontario posted another suprisingly strong performance today, finishing third just behind two world class skaters: Jorge Botero and Harry Vogel.
He said the race started out slowly. "The pace was really, really tame because everyone was just watching Jorge Botero. We knew he was the guy to beat."
On the second lap, the Cado Motus and Pinnacle racing skaters attacked hard going up a hill into a headwind. Doucet hung with the leaders and at the top of the hill, made his move.
"I thought if I am going to shake some of these guys off, now's the time," he said. "So I went on a hard break and got a good lead of about 100 to 200 meters.
"Jorge Botero and Harry Vogel bridged up to me. And when it became clear that it was just these three guys, I thought, I like this mix and decided to put all my energy into the breakaway."
He and Botero took turns pulling at the front while Vogel sat in the draft.
"With eight kilometers to go, the pack was catching up, so the three of us talked and agreed to work together. I told Jorge I wouldn't battle him in the sprint and Harry said, 'This race is yours.'
"So we worked together and put the hammer down.
"I led for the last two kilometers, until about 200 yards from the finish line, Jorge went past me with Harry right behind him.
"I coasted in about 30 meters behind Harry, happy to be third ... today."
12:15 pm: Briana again: Briana Kramer, 17, of Kissimmee, FL, wins the women's race to claim her second victory of the NROC season. We're not sure who finished second. Morgane Echardour (Speed Skate World), 20, of Toronto, was third. Sarah Hopkins (Il Peloton/Atom Wheels) was fourth.
12:10 pm: Master Men: Luigino's Tony Muse wins the master men's division at the head of a field sprint of about 20 skaters.
Luigino's Norm Kirby was second. The next three skaters (not necessarily in this order) were Hernan Diaz, Nikko Ramkissoon and Morgan Williams.
Other skaters near the front were Jeffrey Neal, Chris Rojo, Matt Robinson, David Swan, Ed Wachter and Lenny Willcox.
11:51 am: Field sprint: "It was a mad dash," says Glenn Koshi.
Jonathan Bell appeared to take fourth. Sarmiento hawked at the line for fifth or sixth.
Other skaters in the field sprint: Jonathan Blair and Simmons' Rob Bell and Alex Fedak.
11:50 am: Jorge wins. Jorge Botero wins. Harry Vogel finishes second, five yards back. Peter Doucet is third, about 20 yards back.
11:43 am: Koshi updates: Glenn Koshi reports that a chase pack of about a dozen pro men has formed and is pursuing the breakaway.
In the veterans pack, Team Rainbo's Cale Carvell took a nasty spill and is apparently out of the veteran's race.
11:35 am: Passing the women: The three man breakaway passes the women's pack. Powerslide's Jorge Botero (not surprisingly) is the third member of the group.
There's less than half a lap to go in the race.
The main pack is gaining ground on the breakaway group. It's now about 200 yards back.
11:28 am: Another break: Another three-man breakaway, this time including Harry Vogel and Peter Doucet, who won the Roller Montreal Marathon last May.
The three skaters are trading turns at the front and are about 300 yards in front of the men's pack.
11:20 am: Caught: The men's pack caught the breakaway and is cruising along at a leisurely pace. "At this point, they look super relaxed," says Thong Nguyen. "They had closed the gap with the women. But then they slowed down again."
Among the men in the front of the pack: Harry Vogel, David Sarmiento and Peter Doucet.
11:12 am: Breakaway: Three skaters, including David Sarmiento and Harry Vogel (don't know the name of the third), have broken away from the big men's pack and taken a lead of 200 yards.
A few women have dropped off the women's pack, which is still out in front of the men.
11:05 am: Early leaders: It's a big men's lead pack of about 30 skaters. Leading at the end of the first lap was Bont's Matt Walther of San Diego, although the lead was apparently changing regularly.
Powerslide's Jorge Botero was second; Paul Dyrud, an ice skater from the Twin Cities, was third; Harry Vogel, fourth.
11 am: The pro women's pack finishes the first lap about a minute ahead of the men. (The women started a few minutes before the men.)
There were about 15 women in the lead pack, says Thong Nguyen, who was shooting photos from the pace car.
The women are mostly young skaters from indoors.
10:50 am: Women start first: At the last minute, the race directors switched the start order. The pro women went first.
10:45 am: Strong pro field: The pro men's field is loaded with talent. Among the top skaters: Powerslide's Jorge Botero (who leads NROC), Harry Vogel, Adams Inline's David Sarmiento, Cado Motus' William Bowen, Simmons' Rob Bell, Jimmy Blair, Bont's Matt Walther and Brian Kobota.
10:33 am: They are getting ready for the start of the pro marathon. The open pro skaters go first, followed three minutes later by the master and veteran men and then another three minutes later by the pro women.
10 am: Pre race: The advanced marathon is over. The pro marathon is scheduled to start in about 20 minutes.
Race conditions are near perfect. Mostly sunny. About 70 degrees. Moderate wind.
Reports of about 500 skaters competing in the marathons today.
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