Planet Report: The Inaugural Metrodome Inline Marathon

First of Its Kind Inline Marathon Proves Successful

Young Illinois Skater Wins Individual Race; Crowd Cheers for Teams in Time-Trial Event

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

A 19-year-old skater from Illinois set a sizzling pace Sunday to win the individual event in the inaugural Metrodome Inline Marathon in Minneapolis.

Peter Starykowicz completed the indoor marathon in a time of 1 hour 16 minutes and 19 seconds ... (and that included his mandatory water stop!)

The second fastest time in the individual event (1:21:11) was posted by Tom Peterson, whose wife, Kara Peterson, finished seven seconds later to take third. The Petersons are members of the Adams Inline team.

Starykowicz is a member of Chicago's Team Rainbo. He finished ninth in the open (non-pro) division in last year's Disney Inline Marathon.

The Metrodome event included four separate full marathons (26.2 miles), one half marathon and a children's race.

All were held on the upper concourse of the sports stadium. One lap of the concourse is 605 meters, so 70.7 revolutions were required for the full marathons.

It was a busy day for 26point2, the company that put on the race.

"We essentially put on six separate marathons," says the company's Mike Cofrin.

The crowd favorite was the team time-trial marathon, which started at noon.

Spectators -- many of whom were skaters who had already raced or were waiting for their race -- cheered from behind barricades as seven teams competed in the event.

Team members were not allowed to draft behind opposing teams, so the teams hung together in tight individual packs.

"In outdoor marathons, you maybe see two or three skaters from the same team together; the rest are lost or in some other pack," says Adam Bradley of Adams Inline.

"Here the teams were very well defined ... This made for some intense battles that the spectators loved.

"We got cheered on every lap."

(Read Adam's post about the race in the Planet Forum.)

A team sponsored by Flanders Brothers Cycles in Minneapolis lapped the field to win the event with a time of 1:18:09. Bradley's team was second.

Under the rules of the race, the winning team was the one that got four skaters over the finish line in the shortest amount of team.

Jim White of Grow Inline Speed spent his day in skates as the chief (and only) official for the event.

His biggest challenge was making sure skaters abided by the rule limiting pace lines to five.

"In some cases, after skaters ignored warnings, I skated into the middle of the racing pack and then slowed down to split it," he says.

In all, 271 skaters participated in the Metrodome Marathon, making it the fifth largest inline marathon in the United States.

So will it return next year?

"We need to reevaluate it," said Cofrin. "But it's too cool not to do again."

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Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson

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