The Northshore: Big Crowd, Great Race
Sept. 13, 2012
Finish of the 2010 Northshore Inline Marathon
photo: Glenn Koshi
No two years are the same at the Northshore Inline Marathon.
One year, it rains. The next, it’s dry. One year, dozens of world-class skaters show up. The next, American road warriors dominate. One year, there’s a tail wind. The next, it's a headwind for 26.2 miles.
But two things remain the same. The Northshore is always the biggest North American inline marathon, and it's always the most competitive.
This year will be no exception.
At this point, about 2400 skaters are registered for Saturday's race.
That’s three times as many as competed in North America’s second largest skate event of 2012, the 24h Roller Montreal.
And as usual, the Northshore is shaping up as the most competitive NROC race of the year — this, despite the fact that it is on the last day of the World Speed Skating Championships in Italy.
The scheduling conflict deprives the race of U.S. World Team members and some other foreign skaters who are competing on their national teams in Italy. But that just opens up the race for the top North American pros to take on all comers.
Barring any last minute surprise entrants (and there usually are a few), Bont USA’s Juan Nayib Tobon is the skater to beat in the men’s field.
Tobon, 27, of Cali, Colombia, almost won the 2010 event. He was leading when he crashed in the rain on the final turn. Last year, he was hawked at the line and took fourth. “So he’s ready to win,” says Bont team manager Debbie Rice.
Some of the top North American skaters who will be trying to keep Tobon off the podium include Adam’s David Sarmiento, Simmons’ Rob Bell and CadoMotus’ Wesley Gandy.
The skater to beat in the women’s race, Briana Kramer, is also a Bont USA member. Kramer has won the event the last two years. But it is not clear if she is ready to race. After winning the Texas Road Rash last spring, she injured her back and since then has limited her training.
She wasn’t going to race in Duluth this year, Rice said, but decided at the last minute she wanted to help her young teammate Janelle Cole, 15, of Grand Rapids, Mich.
It’s not clear that Cole needs any help. She won the Chicagoland Inline Tour in July. But the competition will be tougher on Saturday.
Among the other strong skaters will be Calvano’s Morgane Echardour, Adam’s Melissa Dahlmann and Luigino’s Julie Glass.
Glass, formerly Brandt, was one of the world’s top inline skaters in the 1990s and early 2000s. She won more than 20 world championships and was a star of the World Inline Cup. She also won the Northshore in 1999 and 2003.
But in recent years, Glass has turned her attention to roller derby as the jammer “Atomatrix.”
The Northshore is a Mega event in the 2012 National Roller Cup, meaning it counts as two events and awards double points.
This year, the full marathon starts a little later than usual, 9:30 am (CDT), while the half marathon starts at 6:45 am.
The Inline Planet will start live blog coverage at 9 am (CDT).