Organizers Announce the Return of Cash Prizes; Thank Racing Community for Its Support
Things are looking up for the Long Beach Inline Marathon.
Organizers say early registration for the marathon, which was skating on rough pavement last year, is up by more than 100 percent.
"Long Beach registration is up, way up!" said Mike Schaefer, director of inline events for International City Racing, the company that puts on the marathon.
"We're very excited and are hoping that with continued effort, 2005 will finally be the year that Long Beach surpasses the 1000 participant mark."
The jump in registration represents a big turnaround for the beleaguered marathon.
Less than a year ago, the loss of two major sponsors _ K2 and Salomon -- had the organizers talking about pulling the plug on the annual event, which would have been a blow to the skating community.
The event is the biggest inline marathon on the West Coast, attracting about 650 skaters a year. (It is part of the multi-sport Long Beach International Marathon, also called Run Long Beach, which draws about 12,000 participants a year.)
But after word spread about its problems, the inline community rallied to support it. Offers of advice and help flooded International City Racing and on inline message boards. (Skaters posted five pages of ideas for how to save the marathon on the Planet forum!)
And even more importantly, skaters signed up for the race in record numbers.
In an email to the Planet, Schaefer did not provide the total number of skaters who have signed up. But he said the number who signed up by May 31st, the end of the early registration period, was more than 100 percent of the number who had signed up at the same time last year.
Encouraged by the early registration numbers, the organizers have decided to once again award prize money for the top finishers.
Men and women will get the same amount: $500 for first, $250 for second; and $100 for third.
Schaefer wanted to send out his thanks to all the people who have helped.
Here's what he said:
"Support from within the skating community has been strong, and we owe an early thank you to many people. The Race Organizers at Disney, St. Paul, and NorthShore have extended very gracious help and advice. Glenn Koshi, at Bont, and Adam Bradley, of Adam's Inline, have helped distribute promotional materials about our race for months now. We are fortunate to be the last race of the year for the NAIMS (North American Inline Marathon Series) organized by the team at Race & Roll Skating Magazine. Janet Miller Sheehan, of USSG (United Skate Schools Group) and California Skate School, has donated countless hours of her time. Audrey Winthrop, who directs the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Skate Race and the upcoming Parkinson's Open Road Race in Long Beach has also offered her advice and quickly organized her team, the Beach Bladers, to register for our event. And, of course, we owe thanks to the countless skaters that have provided advice, suggestions, and opinions.
Take care, Robert, and thanks for all your help, too.
(posted June 28, 2005)
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson
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