Race Report ...
Official: "It Wasn't Safe Out There"
Disney World converted its annual inline marathon into a skate tour this morning due to safety concerns posed by rain and lightning.
Stung by criticism of last year's event, Disney officials decided to take no chances with the 2005 Disney World Inline Marathon.
Shortly before the scheduled start of the race, at 6:15 a.m., they decided to cancel the event as lighting continued to light up the sky.
"It wasn't safe out there," said Disney endurance race manager Paul Ortolano.
Skaters huddled indoors while Disney race officials monitored the weather. After an hour, race officials assembled the skaters for a noncompetitive "fun skate" through the Florida theme park. (The pro skaters who chose to participate turned the "fun skate" into a "fun race," which was won by Eddy Matzger.)
The tour followed the 13.1-mile racecourse that had been laid out for the marathon.
Ironically, shortly after the start of the skate tour, the weather improved and "it turned out to be a semi-decent day," Ortolano said.
A number of skaters skipped the skate tour. But "99.9 percent of those who skated thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and lots of them told us, ''We'll be back next year,' " Ortolano said.
In keeping with Disney World's policy, no refunds will be provided to skaters, he said.
The marathon was to have been the climax of a two-day inline event, which began with Saturday's skate expo.
Last year, the second-annual Disney Inline Marathon turned into something of a fiasco when a boardwalk, dampened by dew and an overeager sprinkler system, proved hazardous and caused scores of skaters to fall.
(posted on May 1, 2005)
Talk about this story ... Was it worth while ... or should skaters get a refund?
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson