Event Preview: 2005 Northshore Inline Marathon

ESPN Signs On As Sponsor of Northshore Inline Marathon

About 4000 Skaters Expected Again This Year for Largest U.S. Marathon

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

North America's largest inline marathon rolls into its tenth year on Saturday in continued good health and with a new sponsor: the cable giant ESPN.

The sports network has signed on as a major sponsor of the Northshore Inline Marathon, says the event's executive director, Chuck Carlberg.

ESPN's sponsorship of the Duluth, Minn., event will come as good news for inline promoters. In recent years, they have struggled financially due in part to dwindling support from skate companies.

ESPN's sponsorship of the Northshore proves that, at least for the largest events, support from outside of the inline world is possible.

The Revolution Won't be Televised

As a sponsor, ESPN is providing cash for the event and is hosting a pre-race cocktail party (5 p.m. Friday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center) in conjunction with its parent company, Disney.

But don't get the wrong idea. Despite its sponsorship, ESPN will not be televising the event.

"At this point, I think they are just testing the waters here," Carlberg said.

The last time the Duluth event was televised was in 1998 when the Outdoor Life Network sent a large crew to Duluth and followed the race from motorcycles and a helicopter.

ESPN televised a few brief clips from the St. Paul Inline Marathon last month as part of its Sports Center Across America coverage. But it was not a sponsor of the event.

Steady Numbers

The Northshore will again this year claim the crown as the largest inline marathon in North America.

By the registration deadline Friday (Sept. 9), about 4000 skaters had registered for the full and half marathons, Carlberg said.

Registration for the event has been holding steady at about 4000 for the last few years.

Last year, 4021 skaters laced up.

No other North American inline marathon has been able to top 2000. The second largest, the 2-year-old St. Paul marathon, attracted about 1600 skaters this year.

Richest Race

The Northshore will also continue to be the richest North American inline event, with a total cash purse of $32,295.

The total purse for the World Cup division will be $25,000.

The first man and woman across the finish line (any World Cup or elite racer qualifies) will earn $4000; second place collects $3000; third place, $2000.

The Northshore also has a second tier of cash prizes for skaters in the elite, elite masters and elite veterans divisions.

They will split a purse of $7295 with the top prize of $1000 going to the winners of the men's and women's open elite division.


Related reading

See the list of cash prizes for the 2005 Northshore

Read last year's interview with Chuck Carlberg

Go to the official Northshore site

(Note: Registration for the event is closed.)

• Course condition: Chuck Carlberg says the point-to-point racecourse is in "reasonably good shape." ... At one point, skaters will have to detour around a construction site. This made it necessary to move the starting line by 50.76 feet.


Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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