Preview: the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate

Female Long Distance Champ Kim Perkins Talks to the Planet About the 2004 A2A Ultra Marathon

By Robert "Wouldn't Try to Keep Up With This Woman" Burnson

After the last of the big marathons in the fall, inline racers, at least the toughest of them, have one more big U.S. race to look forward to: the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate.

It's 87 miles long -- more than three times the length of a marathon; it's all hills; and it can test the mettle of even the greatest skaters.

World Champion speed skater Chad Hendrick tried it one year (1994). He got blown out and has never returned.

Skate legend Eddy Matzger, who has won the race seven times, says he keeps going back to "test his demons."

For a preview of the 2005 A2A (Sunday October 24), the Inline Planet talked to inline racing champ Kim Perkins. Perkins, of Berkeley, Calif., has won the women's division the last two years and will be racing again this year. She also serves as the event's media contact person.

Thanks, Kim. And good luck, Sunday!

Robert: So how is the event shaping up this year?

Kim: At this point registration is down a few percentage points from last year. Our pre-registration is 302. But we don't know yet how many people we will have. A lot of people make their decision at the last minute and show up the day before the race.

Robert: How many people raced last year?

Kim: We had 451 entrants.

Robert: What caliber of competition do you expect at the race this year?

Kim: There are always a lot of strong skaters out there. ... Eddy Matzger will be there. He tends to rule the event. But there are usually some skaters who come from Europe to contest that. But they usually register at the last minute so we don't know who they will be.

Robert: Who else do you expect to show up?

Kim: Well, Luis-Carlos Mejia will be there. He's a very strong Columbian skater. And Peter Doucet and Aaron Arndt will be there from Canada. And Dennis Humphrey will be there from New York.

Robert: How about female skaters?

Kim: Well, Kimberly Westbury is coming back. And Martine Charbonneau, another Canadian skater.

Robert: And of course you will be in the race again?

Kim: Yes. This will be my fourth time.

Robert: What is it that keeps you coming back to the Athens to Atlanta?

Kim: This distance is unlike any other race. Often after an hour and a half race, you've still got something left at the end. But this race takes everything you've got.

There is something really wonderful about pushing yourself to the limit. And it takes an event of this magnitude to do this.

(And by the way, if you want to give the A2A a try but aren't ready for 87 miles, the event also has race distances of 37 and 52 miles. ... Just a walk in the park, eh!)

 

...

Copyright 2006 by Robert Burnson

Links:

Matzger, Perkins win 2004 Athens to Atlanta Road Skate

The Official Site of the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate

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The Basics
Beginner's Guide to Inline Skating!
Top Seven Mistakes of Inline Skaters
Protection From Mr. Bumpy
First Time Buying Guide
Skate Safety 
News Departments
Product News
Skating Events and Updates
Racing News
Skate Industry News
Skate Governing Bodies
Skaters in the News
Olympic Inclusion

Travel
Skate Trips and Travel
Skate Seminars
Where to Skate 
Racing
Race Previews
Race Reports
Racing Skates and Equipment

Fitness
Inline Marathoning
Advanced Skating Skills 
Equipment
Skate Previews
Product Reviews
Buyers Guide
Skate Maintenance 
Disciplines
Speed Skating
Freestyle
Downhill
Aggressive
Artistic
Ice Skating
Roller Hockey  
Other
The Inline Edge!
If You're Injured
Skating Laws
Inline History
Gifts
Glossary