Posted at: 09/17/2013 6:04 PM
Updated at: 09/18/2013 11:04 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
It's the largest inline marathon in North America, and according to many racers, it's also one of the most beautiful.
Jarrett Paul of Tampa, Florida won the 18th annual NorthShore race. It was his first marathon win, and first competition as part of a team.
"I was able to sit in and play my role, and at the end I had an opportunity to make a break," Paul said. "My team leader told me to go, I made the break, and it worked out."
Katharina Rumpus of Germany took the women's crown, beating her teammate by a split second.
"We passed the other girls on the straight line over there, got first in the corner and then it was just an amazing feeling going first into the finish and then finish first," Rumpus said.
Race director Skeeter Moore got a firsthand view of the whole race, and says it was exciting from start to finish.
"Being on the motorcycle next to these athletes was just spectacular," Moore said. "At points they were going 40 miles an hour. They'd zigzag around and then boom, they'd take off."
Skaters were facing a ten to twelve mile per hour headwind at times, so drafting was essential.
"Oh I didn't use any energy at all," Paul said. "I was sitting in the draft the whole time. I didn't feel the wind. I didn't even realize there was a headwind."
Because for elite racers, conserving energy is as important as breathing.
"It doesn't matter what position you're in, if you don't have that burst to get to the line, and you have a few people around you, you're done," Paul said. "You go from first to fifth like it's nothing."
But you don't have to be an elite athlete to cross the NorthShore Inline Marathon off of your bucket list.
"The perception of a marathon between running and inline skating is totally different," Moore said. "It's attainable skating for the average recreational skater."