Skaters in the News:

At 84, Evanston Woman Prepares to Skate Her First Marathon

June Carvell Is Expected to Be the Oldest Woman Ever to Skate the Northshore

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

June Carvell has been around inline skates for just about as long as inline skates have been around.

She pulled on her first Rollerblades in the early-1980s when she and her husband, the late Allan Carvell, owned Chicago's largest indoor ice skating rink, the recently-demolished Rainbo Arena.

A few years later, she bought her first pair of inline skates so she could join her grandson in what had become his favorite pastime.

But it wasn't until later that inline skating became a regular part of her routine.

"It was about six years ago," Carvell recalls. "My husband was quite ill and in a nursing home, and it really did me good to get out there and just skate."

After her husband's death last year from Alzheimer's disease, Carvell kept skating.

"At my age, you have to keep moving," she says.

On Saturday, Carvell will become the oldest woman ever to participate in the Northshore Inline Marathon in Duluth, Minn.

The Evanston, Ill., woman is registered for the 13.1-mile half marathon.

She will be one of two 84 year olds in the Northshore this year, said Northshore executive assistant Dawna Carlberg.

The other is Mark Sertich of Duluth. Sertich, who is registered for the full (26.2 mile) marathon, is perennially the oldest skater in the event.

He has competed in eight of the ten Northshore Marathons since its founding in 1996.

Before this year, the oldest woman to skate in the marathon (full or half) was Phyllis Fuller of Edina, Minn. She was 73 when she raced the full marathon in 2003.

Carvell says her son, Cale, talked her into skating the marathon this spring.

Cale Carvell is co-owner of Rainbo Sports, a charter member of the Team Rainbo speed skating club and a regular at the Northshore Marathon. Once again this year, he will be skating the full marathon.

Skating the half marathon with June Carvell will be her daughter, Chrissy Washburn of Portland, Oregon.

To get ready for the marathon, June Carvell says she extended her skate workouts this summer. Rather than skating for six to eight miles two or three times a week, she upped the distance to 10 to 11 miles.

But that ended about a month ago when she suffered hairline fractures of her elbow in a bicycle crash. (In addition to skating, she cycles and does step aerobics.)

Carvell just got back on her skates last week, but she's confident that she's ready for the marathon.

"My son keeps saying, 'Piece a cake ... you won't have any trouble.'

"My goal is to just finish and to have a good time. I'm not going to skate real fast ... not that I can skate very fast. ... I'm just going to skate and finish and enjoy it."

What kind of equipment will she be using:

• Rollerblade Lightning 05 skates
• wrist guards
• knee pads
• helmet
• one elbow pad to protect her recently injured right elbow


... "I don't think it's difficult for anyone to learn (to skate). The stopping is the difficult thing. I still at times have trouble stopping."

... "I've been skating for a long time, but I am not a great skater. I just go out and skate for the fun of it."



Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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