Silver Strand Half Marathon
Coronado, CA - Nov. 14, 2004     T   P   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

San Diego's Silver Strand Half Marathon took place on Sunday, November 14, 2004. The race benefits the Challenged Athletes Foundation and is the CAF's Leg Amputee National Championships. A wonderful mix of challenged athletes, hand cyclists, runners, and skaters mingled around until the 7:00am wave starts. The Santa Anas brought mild temperatures in the 60s under sunny skies and a light cross wind. Around 200 skaters entered the inline race this year.

All athletes competed on the same half marathon course, starting on Coronado Island. After passing the historic Hotel del Coronado, racers proceed south on the Silver Strand, a narrow strip of land that separates the San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Upon entering the community of Imperial Beach, skaters made a few turns through residential streets before doing an out-and-back loop on the Naval Radio Receiving Facility. This was a unique opportunity to pass through a coastal property that is otherwise closed to the general public. The final stretch was long, wide, and straight with the finish line in front of the Imperial Beach Pier. Maximum rise on the course was no more than 20 feet.

The inline race began with a mass start. Skaters started at a moderate pace and grouped into a single paceline. After turning onto the Silver Strand, the games began. Bont skaters Jordan Nelson and Norm Kirby took turns launching attacks and keeping the overall pace above 25 miles per hour for the next three miles. Skaters dropped off one by one and Randy Bowman (Pyro) was the only one to hold on.

Randy was in a difficult situation against Jordan and Norm. He was forced to cover each and every attack that the Bont skaters attempted if he was to have a chance at the win. Around mile six Randy decided to launch his own attack. Jordan chased, but Norm, having just come off of a pull, was tired and dropped.

However, the game wasn't over because Randy was forced to pull almost the entire rest of the race. Jordan wouldn't cooperate because any chance to slow down would allow his teammate Norm to catch back up. The two skaters stayed together into the final sprint. In the end, Jordan came out victorious in a time of 37:17 just ahead of Randy. Norm finished solo for third place around a minute later.

Among the women, Stacey Eldridge (Bont) was able to maintain a higher pace than all of her competitors. She stayed in a pack ahead of the other female skaters the entire race to take the win in 43:55. Gianna Guerino and Sandra Miller finished second and third, repsectively, a few minutes later.

Despite the dry road conditions and what appeared to be a faster pace, this year's finishing times did not break the course records set in 2003. Last year's strong tailwind accounted for the difference. Randy Bowman holds the record of 36:18 for the men. Mechele Busby, who was not able to make this year's race, holds the record for the women at 40:46.

Koz Enterprises added inline skating to the Silver Strand Half Marathon last year and warmly welcomed skaters. Increased skating attendance gives hope for the future of our sport. We look forward to next year's race, and hopefully more inline events in San Diego.


Copyright © 2004 - San Diego Street Elite