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Inline marathon and variety go hand in hand

With the recent hike in gas prices, many are trying new things out for transportation. Some are biking; while others are hiking or taking the bus. Next Saturday, others will be trying out another form of transportation: inline skating. Granted, t...

With the recent hike in gas prices, many are trying new things out for transportation.

Some are biking; while others are hiking or taking the bus.

Next Saturday, others will be trying out another form of transportation: inline skating.

Granted, these competitors may not be doing this to thumb their noses at high gas prices, but it does give Northlanders another idea on how to combat the gas-price blues.

The full NorthShore Inline Marathon will begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, in Two Harbors, while the half marathon will begin at 6:45 a.m. near Lakeview Castle at Pine Tree Road.

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The event is the largest inline event in the United States and third biggest in the world.

Last year there were approximately 4,000 participants in the event.

"That traditionally represents 42 to 43 states as well as 12 to 15 countries," said Chuck Carlberg, the executive director for the NorthShore Inline Marathon.

There is prize money for some of the top finishers, but there is an added incentive for those who want to try and break the course record.

The Inn on Lake Superior is offering $10,000 for any female who can break the women's record, while K2 Skates is offering $10,000 to any male who can break the men's record.

The current record for women stands at 1 hour, 10 minutes, 26 seconds, while the men's record is an astonishing 57:18 (the race is 26.2 miles).

The marathon follows a similar route as Grandma's Marathon, however, at Lemon Drop Hill, the competitors go on Interstate 35 and to Fifth Avenue West and around the DECC to finish at the William A. Irvin, Carlberg said.

The people following this path are passionate about it, Carlberg said, adding that the marathon gets between a 1,000 and 1,500 new skaters annually.

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"We've had lots of skaters, here at the NorthShore Inline Marathon, gone on to Olympic (endeavors)," he said.

Not only does the event have an affect on the racers, but also the city of Duluth.

"Visitor convention puts the economic impact in excess of $2 million," Carlberg said.

Schedule of events

Friday, Sept. 12

  • There will be a race packet pickup, along with the Minnesota Power Skate & Fitness Expo from noon to 10 p.m. at the DECC's Pioneer Hall.
  • The Pizza Lucรฉ Spaghetti Dinner will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the DECC's Pioneer Hall. Cost is $9.50 for adults, $6 for children ages 5 to 12 and younger than 5 eat free.
  • The Eddy Matzger Clinic will be held at 2, 4 and 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the DECC's Pioneer Hall. Free to the public.
  • The Duluth Children's Kids Sprints will begin at 4 p.m. (with registration) along Harbor Drive across from the William A. Irvin. Safety tips will be at 4:45 p.m. and racing begins at 5 p.m. The event is free. All children will receive a free ticket to the spaghetti dinner with a paid adult. Medals will be awarded to the top three in each age category, and everyone will get a T-shirt.

Saturday, Sept. 13

  • Bus loading will begin at 5 a.m. at the main entrance to the DECC -- not by Pioneer Hall. Loading will begin with half marathon participants, Elite and Wave A and B, then all age classes. No age-class skaters should board before 6 a.m.
  • Half marathon will begin at 6:45 a.m. at Pine Tree Road.
  • Full marathon will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Two Harbors.
  • The race will conclude around noon, when the course opens for traffic.
  • The expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DECC's Pioneer Hall.
  • The half marathon award ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the DECC's Pioneer Hall.
  • The full marathon award ceremony will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the DECC's Pioneer Hall.
  • The K2 party will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at Grandma's Sports Garden.

Sunday, Sept. 14

  • The BONT Fun Skate, a casual skating event, will begin at 10 a.m. Meet behind Grandma's Sports Garden in Canal Park.

Road closures (Sept. 13)

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  • Scenic Highway 61 at the North junction (Two Harbors junction) with Highway 61 expressway will close at 5 a.m. for set up the day of the race.
  • Scenic Highway 61 at south junction (Duluth junction) with Highway 61 expressway will close at 6 a.m.
  • Southbound Highway 61 expressway travelers will be diverted onto Superior Street no later than 6:45 a.m.
  • The city will flash signals for the duration of the race at London Road and 26th Avenue East. The city will close the intersection west of 26th Avenue East at 6:45 a.m.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation will provide barricades to prohibit vehicles and pedestrians from entering Interstate 35 at London Road and 21st Avenue East. The race will provide volunteers to keep spectators from Interstate 35 and monitor barriers between lanes.
  • MnDOT will divert Northbound I-35 traffic onto Mesaba Avenue at 6:45 a.m.
  • All roadways will reopen upon direction of the Duluth Police Department.

News to use
It's not to late to sign-up for the NorthShore Inline Marathon. For more, call 723-1503 or visit www.northshoreinline.com . Volunteers are also needed.

If you are interested in watching the event, the ending line (by the William A. Irvin) is the best place to watch, said Chuck Carlberg, executive director of the marathon.

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