Racing News > 2006 Disney World Inline Marathon

Mantia, Bowe Rule the Mouse
Inline marathon draws about 700 skaters;
Nelson DQ'ed in men's race

Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

The young World Team stars Joey Mantia and Brittany Bowe scored victories today in what turned out to be the smallest, though perhaps the happiest, Disney World Inline Marathon.

Disney's decision to move up the date of the race by a month this year appeared to pay off. Unlike last year, when thunderstorms that coincided with the start of the hurricane season forced the race to be canceled, today's weather was picture perfect: clear skies with a temperature of about 70 degrees.

About 700 skaters took advantage of the situation to participate in the full and half marathons; 61 children skated in Saturday's kids event.

Today's race played out in nearly identical fashion for both the pro men and pro women skaters.

The frequent turns, tight corners and hills of the racecourse discouraged breakaways. As a result, the lead packs stayed together until the end, when field sprints determined the order of finish.

Mantia Sets the Pace

Mantia, the reigning world marathon champion, said he went out fast at the start of the race and tried to push the pace but was hampered by shin splints.

"The course is so winding and up and down (with) hills and bumps," said the 20-year-old member of the Luigino racing team. "It's really hard on your shins. So immediately my shins were kind of locking up, so I backed off a little bit."

On the second of two laps of the theme park, with about a mile to go before the finish, the men's pack got "antsy," Mantia said.

"Everybody was jumbling and trying to set up position, and then we came around the last corner and everybody bunched up because nobody wanted to take off yet," he said.

"I was in front coming around the corner and from there, I pretty much kept going as hard as I could and won by 15, 20 feet."

Finishing one second behind Mantia was Colombia's Julian Rivera of the new Fila USA team.

Nelson DQ'ed

Crossing the line third was Bont North America's Jordan Nelson. But he was later disqualified, which elevated K2's Scott Bliss to third place in the standing.

The disqualification was the result of a protest lodged by several skaters who alleged that Nelson got an illegal (and helpful) push from teammate Jono Gorman in the final sprint.

Nelson did not dispute the push but said it came before the final yards of the race and had no bearing on the results. He also complained about what he said was "a bunch of grabbing and pushing" around the last corner.

Nonetheless, race officials ruled against him.

Like the men, the women stayed in a tight pack for most of the race. "You can't really go on fliers with all the tight turns and stuff," said Luigino's Brittany Bowe.

Tru-Rev skaters Briana Kramer and Stephanie Sutter controlled the pace for much of the race, Bowe said.

"But all the girls from Tru-Rev skated a great race," the 18-year-old said. "They pushed the pace. One girl from Colombia went on a couple of fliers and really started to open up the pack a little bit and that got everyone's legs burning."

Bowe, who is the reigning junior women's world marathon champion, said her strategy throughout the race was to stay close enough to the front that she could take the lead going through the final S-turn, 1000 meters from the finish.

"I thought that if I was in front I could control the pace," she said.

She and teammate Kelly Gunther came out of the turn in the lead. And then Bowe, one of the world's top sprinters, beat the other women to the finish. "I was just glad I got to the finish line first," she said.

Noticeably absent from the event were top Hyper racers Dane Lewis and Jessica Smith.


The race had an early morning start (6:15 a.m.), so as not to tangle the skaters with regular park visitors.

The sun was just rising as the pro men were finishing.

Giving the call at the finish line was 2002 Olympic gold medalist Derek Parra. Taking photos at the finish line was 2006 gold medalist Joey Cheek.

Both Parra and Cheek were inline speed skating champions before turning their attention to ice.

Lower Numbers

Last year's last-minute cancellation appeared to discourage participation in this year's event.

Some skaters, fearing a repeat, had said they would skip the event this year.

At it's peak, in 2004, the marathon attracted about 1600 skaters.

Based on the success of this year's event, skaters may be more eager to attend in 2007.

Related reading

• Go to list of top finishers.

• Go to list of all pro and pro master finishers.

• Go to more Racing News.

Go to the Beginner's Guide to Outdoor Racing

(posted on April 2, 2006)

Related reading

• Go to list of top finishers.

• Go to list of all pro and pro master finishers.

• Go to more Racing News.

Go to the Beginner's Guide to Outdoor Racing


Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson

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