Oct 302012

The schedule is up for the new marathon skating season. We start off as usual with the Quebec City marathon that takes place on November 10 and 11 on the beautiful Gaetan Bouchard olympic (refrigerated) oval in Ste.Foy PQ, a suburb of Quebec City. This event, which includes both 25km (Saturday November 10) and 40km (Sunday November 11) is always well attended by both elite and recreational marathon skaters and all are welcome to join in. For further information, and a full listing of all of the marathon events this winter, visit the marathon skating website at marathonskating.org.

The second marathon event of the season will be at the Lake Placid Olympic (refrigerated) Oval (where Eric Heiden won all five speedskating medals in the 1980 Winter Olympics). This event is always well attended by a large variety of skating levels including beginners. In addition to myself, I believe that two other of our masters skaters are going to give it a try this year. The Lake Placid meet will be held on the weekend of Dec. 7, 8 and 9. Currently the schedule indicates a Friday evening 10km event followed by 25km and 40km on the Saturday and Sunday. For this event I share accommodation with a group of Ottawa Pacers skaters who rent a B and B for the weekend. This is the best deal in Lake Placid and if you are interested in attending this event let me know regarding accommodation.

These two events will be followed by natural ice marathons in the new year, including Ottawa (Brewers Park), Portland, Vermont (Lake Champlain) and two separate venues in Alberta.

John Ambrose

 Posted by at 8:39 pm
Feb 052012

Marathon MusingsPortland Outdoors logo

Schonewille Family Rocks!

The eighth annual Skate the Lake marathon was held on Saturday January 28th under less than ideal conditions. The ice maintenance team worked hard all the previous week and refused to give in to a stubborn weather situation. With thawing temperatures, rain, freezing rain and then snow the crew pressed on and gave us remarkable ice conditions considering the weather circumstances. The turnout was light this year with ….. in the five Km and …… in the 10 km and only ….. competing in the 25km. The 50 km was cancelled but just as well since by early afternoon the ice conditions had deteriorated considerably.

Our club had a good showing at Portland – eight skaters albeit five of them were the entire Schonewille family. A, B and C took three of the first four places in their category of the 10 km race and Kim skated to a second place in her category. Todd skated his first long distance ever and did very well, placing 17th overall in the 25 km. John also skated in the 25 but placed a dismal 25th out of a field of 29 but this was partly due to his ‘getting too close to the ice’ with only three laps remaining. Although asked for a refund the organizers told him that there would be no refund because they now had to clean up the red spills that he left behind. Nolan Roney finished 8th and Annella Roney finished 18th in the kids’ 5 km.

The next marathon was to be held on beautiful Lake Morey in Vermont but it has been cancelled because they need the ice surface for a hockey tournament (what’s new?). So the next marathon will be on the Halifax oval – anyone interested in joining me?

 Posted by at 10:55 pm
Jan 182012

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The Bytown marathon was held this past weekend at the Brewer Park oval under beautiful sunny skies and crisp (!) conditions. A variety of distances (100 metres, 4, 10, 21 and 42km) were provided to meet everyone’s needs. Our club was well represented in three of the four events with Alphonse and Nick showing tremendous results in both the 4 and 21 km events. Alphonse was third overall in both races with only 0.4 seconds separating him from second place in the 4k. In that race Nick was 6th overall in a field of 31 skaters. Great show guys. In the 21km Alphonse was 2.5 minutes behind the winner Sergio Almarella while Nick took 21st and John was 26th in a field of 40 which included two other Rapids skaters, Heidi and Chloe, who both finished strong in the 21 km although short track skates hindered their performance. John was the only Rapids representative for the Sunday morning 42km under bright sunny skies but with an air temperature of  -21C. In a starting field of 25 he finished 15th with a satisfying time of 1 hour 50 minutes.

Congratulations to all Rapids participants for a great showing. It was fun wasn’t it? (wasn’t it?). And nobody had a sore back!  Let’s see if we can get more Rapids skaters out for the marathons – there are three remaining in the east (Portland,  Lake Morey,Vermont, and Halifax).

The next marathon is Skate the Lake in Portland on Saturday January 28th. Unfortunately it clashes with O Cup but for those of you who are not attending O Cup, come to Portland and have some fun. Races for all including the 5 km, five member team costume relay. Other races include 5, 10, 25, and 50 km. And even if you don’t want to skate, come and enjoy a fun day.

 Posted by at 7:00 pm
Jan 112012

The eights edition of Portland’s Skate the Lake is coming up on Saturday January 28th.

It really is a lot of fun, especially if a big group is going…

Here is a link to their web page, which has the details, the online registration form, and a video from the Rick Mercer Report with Canadian Short Track Olympian Tanya Vincent.

Here is a link to the press release.

 Posted by at 8:47 pm
Dec 212011

Lake Placid – Just on Time Ice Delivery!

Lake Placid is the second event on the schedule of marathons under the auspices of Marathon Skating International. The first event this season was held in Quebec City in November with the traditional 10km, 25km and 40km races. Lake Placid almost did not take place this past weekend (Dec 17,18) as a result of the unusually warm weather. As of Thursday night Dec 15 the Lake Placid Oval (where Eric Heiden won 5 golds in all of the long track events in the 1980 Olympics) was still a dry concrete pad as it had been since last March. However, on Friday the weather started to turn and although not very cold, it was sufficiently favorable to begin ice making. Traditionally the 10 and 25 km events are held on Saturday morning but by the scheduled time there was only 60mm or so of ice. By mid afternoon it had been built up to about 150mm and it was decided that we could skate by 5:30 that evening. Credit goes to the ice makers and he who controls the weather – the temperature dropped to about -12C and the games were on. A large group partook in the 10 km including this writer and the ice proved to be very fast resulting in some very good times. After a 45 minute break the 25km was held and perhaps foolishly I was at the starting line for this race as well. I turned in a very respectable time and managed to beat two of my regular rivals from the Pacers group. I was able to pack with only two others for this race so with a couple of others my time could have been better and the magical 60 minutes eludes me by a whisker. The problem with two night races of 10 and 25 km is that they provide little recovery time for the next morning’s 40km and because of this some skaters did not skate the 40. Again, always wishing to get my money’s worth I signed up for the third long event in 14 hours. Once again I joined the Pacers group which rents a B and B for the weekend including many of our meals and of course the Saturday evening was the usual enjoyable social event with an excellent home prepared meal accompanied by appropriate beverages. It was a somewhat early evening this year due to the late events of the day and the dreaded 40km facing us in the morning. A glorious Sunday morning it was with temperatures at -15C, sunshine and no wind. 38 were at the starting line for the event and ice conditions were almost perfect (ice a little too hard due to the cold). I started off with a pack of 5 skaters and this grew to 8-10 skaters during our 95 minutes or so on the ice. The race was won by Constant Montpellier of Montreal in the final lap (of 100  laps) when his main rival, Glen Corso of NY stripped the edge from his blade in the last corner and slid out of contention for the winner’s circle.
It was a beautiful day and even the drive back home was enjoyable although one had to fight to keep awake. I was very pleased with my showings in all three races (three second place finishes in my ancient age group that was well represented).

Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy this historical ice sheet located in the middle of the town of Lake Placid. The SLSSC masters group has talked of a weekend trip to the venue and I would suggest sometime in Jan or Feb we do just that – but not just masters. We should get as many families from the club as possible to have an enjoyable weekend of skating, skiing and shopping.

(For more information on the Marathon’s scheduled for this season, see the Marathon Page.)

 Posted by at 8:11 pm