Teams vie for position in the Metrodome time trial.
The 2011 National Roller Cup opens Saturday with a one of a kind event, the Metrodome Inline Marathon in Minneapolis.
The event is the world’s only indoor skate marathon. Its racecourse is the upper concourse of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings.
Being indoors, it's the only inline marathon where weather is not a factor.
“There’s no wind, no rain, and the pavement is perfect,” says Metrodome veteran Jim White.
Skaters loop the 600-meter concourse 70.7 times to complete the full marathon (26.2 miles).
Holding a marathon in the relatively tight quarters of a stadium concourse is not a simple matter. To avoid congestion, the organizer, Podium Sports Marketing, splits the event into three separate marathons.
Skaters do not start together in a mass or even in waves. Instead, each skater or team starts alone with a few seconds before the next start.
Skaters in the solo marathons are permitted to draft, but only in pacelines of five or fewer skaters. Team members are allowed to draft, but only behind members of their own team.
The final order of finish is based on chip timing. (pdf of Metrodome rules)
The Metrodome Inline Marathon is in its seventh year. Podium Sports also runs open skating sessions at the Metrodome and organizes the Minnesota Half Marathon.
Saturday's racing starts at 9 a.m. (CDT) with the marathon for pro and faster non-pros. The marathon for less competitive skaters follows at 10:30 a.m. The team time trial starts at 1:15 p.m.
The Inline Planet will cover the event with a live blog Saturday morning.
Copyright © 2011 by Inline Planet