Canada's Top Skaters Head To Revised Ottawa Event
June 3, 2011
The Ottawa Inline Festival always brings out Canada’s top skaters. And this year is no different — despite major changes in the event.
Among the Canadians who will be lining up for the marathon Sunday are Toronto Inline’s Peter Doucet and Morgane Echardour; Schankel-Kallisto’s Morgan Williams and Georg Nikodym; Il Peloton’s Sergio Almeralla and Steve Robillard; and Martine Charbonneau.
“This event always seems like a war for bragging rights among the Canadians — the Montreal crew versus the Toronto crew — with the rest of us trying to stay out of the way and survive to the finish,” says Asphalt Beach’s Steve Larios of Nashville.
“I wouldn't miss it. I love skating with those guys.”
The festival organizers made big changes in the event this year. For starters, they moved it from the end of the summer to the beginning.
For 10 years, the event has fallen on the Labor Day weekend. But this year, the popular 24h Roller Montreal relay event moved into the Labor Day slot, forcing the Ottawa organizers to find a new date.
Along with the new date, organizers madeover the festival in hopes of drawing more participants. They axed the grueling Triple Crown and added a 2K skate and a 10K run.
“Unfortunately, the Triple Crown was not perceived as a sustainable characteristic of the festival,” says race director (and racer) Stéphane Tremblay of the Ottawa Inline Skate Club.
Organizers also stretched the event over two days. The 2K and 10K races happen on Saturday evening; the half and full marathons, on Sunday afternoon.
“We are redefining our event to make it more sustainable in the long term,” Tremblay says.
Skaters in the former Triple Crown raced three events in one day: a 10K, a full marathon and a half marathon. It was one of the toughest days of racing in North America, but only 15 to 25 skaters a year were up for the challenge.
This year, skaters will be able to compete in a “duathlon” made up of the 10K skate and 10K run.
The marathon is a major event in the 2011 National Roller Cup for Pro and Advanced skaters.
Youth skaters will earn points in both the full and half marathon with racers in the full marathon taking the top points.
The racecourse for the skate events is the freshly paved Rockcliffe Parkway, overlooking the Ottawa River.
Racing starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday (EDT) with the 10K skate. The 10K run goes off an hour later.
The full and half marathons start at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Inline Planet will present live blog coverage of the marathon starting at 1 p.m. Sunday (EDT).