The Original and Still Champion: NorthShore Inline Marathon
(By Robert "wanstabe in Duluth ... if only for a few days in September" Burnson)
A Great Race ... Not Just for Those World Cup Hot Shots
If there's any way you can make it, get yourself to Duluth, Minnesota, on the third weekend in September! That's the weekend (Sept. 17-19) of the Ninth Annual NorthShore Marathon, the top inline marathon in the United States.
And don't just go as a spectator, although as a spectator you'd be able to watch many of the greatest inline racers in the world. (The NorthShore is the only inline World Cup event held in the United States.)
No, go as a participant. Sign up for the race! Be one of the 4,000 or so mostly weekend skaters who make this marathon one of the highlights of the skating year.
If you're worried about hills, don't be. The Northshore course doesn't have anything steep. ... If you're worried about making it to the finish line, you probably needn't be. You'll have four hours, baby! And just about everyone who starts this race, finishes. ... And all without puking, which is what you'd be doing at the finish line of a traditional running marathon. The skaters in the NorthShore marathon, on the other hand, usually hit the finish line smiling or laughing. It's a good time!
Another thing you won't have to worry about -- and a good thing, too! -- is Minnesota's state bird: the mosquito. By mid-September, they're "not an issue," says Chuck Carlberg, the marathon's executive director. "They are all asleep by then." (Hmmm. Do I detect a euphemism?)
Anyhow, if you're not ready for a full marathon (maybe your leg is broken) consider the NorthShore half marathon: 13.1 miles. Whatever. Just get over there and skate!
Hey, if you have any more questions about the race read my interview with Chuck. ... He seems like a heck of a nice guy. ... Have you ever noticed? Those Minnesotans are a nice bunch. ... You betcha!
( 2003 Northshore Inline Marathon photo by Dennis O'Hara)
• Inline Marathon Calendars
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson