St. Paul Inline Marathon
St. Paul, MN - Aug. 21, 2005     T   P   R   R  
San Diego Street Elite

The second annual St. Paul Inline Marathon in Minnesota took place Sunday, August 21, 2005. With full support of the city, the inaugural event really took off last year. This year over 1,000 skaters participated in the Pro, Advanced, and Recreational/Fitness categories for the full and half marathon. The men's Pro, Pro Master, and Pro Vet races started at 7:00am. The start of the remaining categories were staggered at 7:45. Racing conditions were near perfect, with temperatures in the upper 50s, sunny, and a light wind.

The course was 1.5 laps along a divided highway, with a turn off of it for a few blocks to the finish in downtown St. Paul. The divided highway was completely closed with two lanes in each direction. Pavement was mostly smooth varying from new concrete, new asphalt, and older asphalt. There were a few gently rolling hills to test climbing skills, but nothing major. An excellent course overall.

The men's pro field consisted of around 50 skaters. Although some of the top skaters were away for Worlds, the competition was still there. Some veterans of the sport present included Adam Miller, Eddy Matzger, and KC Boutiette. Surprisingly, for a race this size, the start was uneventful and without fanfare.

Shortly after the start, a group of about six or seven skaters broke away from the main pack. Although the pace was high, the skaters were content in letting the chase pack catch up before the first U-turn.

Once back together, another group of five or six skaters, two each from Bont and Hyper, immediately went on super-fast break. After the first U-turn they had built up a sizeable gap. The chase pack did not attempt to catch, but kept a high pace to keep the gap in check.

This continued for the next full lap. Until about three miles to go, the chase pack finally gobbled up the leaders. It all came down to the final sprint for the 15 skaters. In the end, Bret Whitman (Hyper) came out victorious, with Dane Lewis (Hyper) second and Adam Miller (Simmons) third.

The Pro Masters men and Pro Vet men each had their own start. But midway into the race they caught each other. Jim Bourgeois won the Pro Masters and Fred Scheer won the Pro Vet.

The women's race was competitive as well. The 45-minute later start meant that the wind was a bigger factor as it picked up in the morning. In the final sprint, there were four skaters left in the lead pack. Jessica Smith and Cecilia Baena, both of Hyper, came in first and second, followed by Kimberly Derrick, third. Peggy Girgenti decided to race Pro instead of Pro Masters and finished right behind the top three. Naomi Schecter won the women's Pro Masters race.

The St. Paul Inline Marathon was a well-organized event on par with the Northshore Marathon, just smaller. There was a nice expo the previous day at packet pickup and the finish line was very festive. The course was first-class with a few gentle hills to break up the packs. Combined with all of the excellent trails to skate in the Twin Cities, the St. Paul Inline Marathon is an excellent and affordable race to travel to.


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