The third time proved the charm for Aaron Arndt in the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate.
The 27-year-old Canadian, who finished second in last year's a2a and fifth in 2004, won today's 87-mile ultra-marathon with a burst of speed in the final sprint.
Finishing a few feet behind him — with an identical time (4 hours, 30 minutes and 56 seconds) — was Colombia's David Sarmiento.
Luis Carlos Mejia was third. Eight-time a2a champion Eddy Matzger finished fourth.
Tucked into a chase pack 10 minutes behind the leaders, Canada's Martine Charbonneau won the women's race.
Charbonneau, who also won last week's New York 100K, set a new women's course record: 4 hours, 41 minutes and 40 seconds. The old record was 4:53:07, set by Barrie Hartman in 2000.
Gianna Guerino of Farrell, PA, finished twenty minutes behind Charbonneau to claim second place in the women's division.
The men's race came down to a sprint between Aaron Arndt (Inline Center/Bont), David Sarmiento (Adams Inline) and Luis Carlos Mejia (K2-Empire Speed).
The three approached the finish line together with Twincam's Eddy Matzger a few seconds behind.
About 800 yards from the finish line, Arndt started sprinting. "He said he was afraid that if he didn't go then that he wouldn't be able to get around the other guys," said Bont North America's Debbie Rice, who talked to him after the race.
"He said his legs were wobbling and he didn't even know if he was going to make it to the finish line," Rice said. "But he gave it all he could and he got them."
Arndt has emerged this year as one of the world's top ultra-distance skaters. He finished fourth in this year's Inline One-Eleven in Switzerland, 26 seconds behind winner Massimiliano Presti.
Arndt was a member of the Bont North America racing team last year; but this year, travelled to Europe to compete in the World Inline Cup.
K2-Empire's Francisco Ramirez described the race as slow in the early goings with few attacks. The first serious attack, he said, came when Mejia took off with Sarmiento after the lead pack went through the town of Dacula.
The race was the fastest a2a since 2002 when Matzger won with a time of 4:22:56.
Last year's winner, Mauro Guenci of Italy, did not appear this weekend to defend his title.
Doing well in his first appearance in the race was Team Rainbo's Peter Starykowicz of Long Grove, IL. The 21-year-old finished fifth, 50 seconds behind the leaders.
Ramirez finished a few minutes later in sixth place, just ahead of Canada's Peter Doucet (K2-Empire Speed).
About 280 skaters participated in today's event, said organizer Scott Jones. The event includes two shorter distances (38 and 52 miles) and a new 10K.
The weather was sunny and mild.
Copyright © 2007 by Robert Burnson