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Can USA Fit Do for Inline What It Has Done for Running?

Group Founder Says Goal Is to Grow Inline Skating

(Part 2 of 2)

Growth of Running Marathons

Programs like USA Fit (there are several of them) are credited with helping to fuel the enormous growth of U.S. running marathons.

In 1976, only about 25,000 people ran or walked marathons in the United States, according to Running USA. But by 2003, that number had swelled to 400,000.

Calabrese says he has no doubt that marathon training programs have contributed to the growth and insists the same thing could happen with inline.

"I see this as an unmined opportunity to grow this sport," he says.

"In fact, inline has the capacity to do even better than running, because it beats you up less and there are a lot more people, in theory, who could inline a marathon than run one."

Inline marathons are less physically demanding than running marathons and take about half the time to complete.

Collecting Ideas

Calabrese is starting to collect ideas from the inline community about how to grow the sport.

He plans to hold meetings, phone conferences and talks with prominent skaters.

"I want to present my ideas, and I want to hear their ideas.

"I want the leaders of this sport, without constraint, to think about where they would like their sport to go and tell me how they want to get there.

"And out of that, I hope to better form my specific plan about where to go.

"And then, hopefully, others will do it their own way, and then in the end, the good plans will begin to work and be replicated, and the other ones will fall off."

Calabrese founded USA Fit 15 years ago. He is the president of a public relations firm in Houston and former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

"I want people to know that USA Fit has no interest in being a caretaker of inline skating," he says. "We are here to grow the sport."

Page 1|2

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(posted on March 10, 2005)



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