Western Hemisphere Marathon
Culver City, CA - Dec. 12, 1999     T   P   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

Starting later than usual, advanced skaters lined up for the last marathon of the millenium. Plenty of serious skaters, including teams from Arizona, Colorado, even Florida, were off at the start. A sharp turn left onto Culver Blvd, left an innocent (or naive) spectator standing in the street wondering "why are all those skaters heading for me"? Past the first of many obstacles to come and we were on our way. The pace was fast, then smoothed out into the first of three large pace lines, which eventually eroded to one, as we made two large, flat loops around Culver City.

Andy Pele (SDSE) attempted to control the pace frequently, leading part of the first lap, then myself, taking my turn on part of the second. Cooperation from most of the skaters as we passed the danger spots, was the rule of the day. Now halfway, I settled into the pack as we then proceeded west into the first of two loops around the wetlands, beside the ocean. Heading into the wind, there were plenty of changes as leaders frequently pulled over to save themselves for the finishing sprint. Naturally, the yo-yoing of the pace line made some nervous and changes were much more frequent now. The leader teams, such as (Predator), (BSI), (Mile Hi) all looked strong and ready for the sprint.

Up the long, slight hill on the last lap towards the finish, the lead pack soon sprinted. A large chicane-type turn before the finish had persons yelling "left" at the same time as "Right". Some were able to capitolize on the confusion, some were not, as the sprint finished with Mike Miller, Nat Holt leading with a few others that I can't remember. Myself and Andy were soon after, safely finishing closely behind. Congrats to an excellent group of skaters, like Bill Noyes, Bob Miniabi (SDSE), Scott Swaney, Larry Griese (Predator), Nat Holt and Steve Blair (BSI), all winning their age groups.

Jay Smith

After having rained on the event the past two years, this year's Western Hemisphere Marathon on Dec. 12, 1999 enjoyed a bright sunny start. Around 400 skaters, more than double the previous years' attendance, took the 6:30 start delayed to past 7:00. Temperatures warmed from the upper 40s to the upper 50s that morning.

The course followed some of the same streets as in the past. This time the race traversed two loops around Culver City followed by two loops closer to the coast before the return for the finish. It was almost totally flat with smooth pavement, except for a few rougher sections. Pro/Pro Masters Men, Pro/Pro Masters Women, and Advanced/Fitness/Recreational skaters were started one minute apart. No gender cross-drafting was allowed for Pro skaters.

The Pro Men's field was large. Chad Hedrick (Verducci) took off early, taking Stan Bunn and a Swiss skater with him. Surprisingly, they quickly disappeared from sight for the rest of the race. Chad ended up with the win, followed by the Swiss skater and Stan.

Back in our chase pack 7 minutes behind, no major breakaways were attempted. In fact, there was a lot of speeding up and slowing down. So it came down to the final sprint. A pack of 15 of us finished at once, which required extensive video replay to sort out. I was somewhere in the middle of that exciting finish.

Julie Glass (Verducci) won the women's race, which also came down to the final sprint among five competitors. She was followed closely behind by Heather Gunnin (Hyper), Kim Butler, and Peggy Girgenti.

Sandra de Bruyn, Alice Eads, Bob and Susan Hirsch, Bob Minami, Andy Pele, Joe Prescott, Jay Smith, and Brandon Thorsten were all there from SDSE, but I can't remember where everybody finished. However, I am sure it was a lot faster than in previous years without the rain. What a difference that makes.

This race concludes the 1999 race season. Congratulations to all for a great year, both to your individual development and to SDSE. Enjoy your holidays. The first races of the 2000 season will start at the end of January.


Copyright © 1999 - San Diego Street Elite