Disney Inline Marathon
Orlando, FL - May 1, 2004     S  
San Diego Street Elite

The second Walt Disney World Inline Marathon took place on Sunday, May 1, 2004. Last year's inaugural event sold out early. With its success, Disney officials moved the date from March to May. On race day it was mostly sunny and humid for the 6:30am sunrise start, with temperatures in the upper 60s.

The course is completely within Disney's huge resort property just outside Orlando, Florida. The race starts and ends at Disney's Sports Complex. The first few miles are on highways that connect between the many resorts. The rest of the course meanders through the major theme parks, such as Epcot and MGM Studios. One lap was 13.1 miles for the half marathon, two made a full marathon.

The Pro Men were first to start and took off fast off the line. In the first mile or two a couple skaters tried to set a fast pace by breaking away from the main pack. Their gap was never really big and they were slowly recaptured before entering the first theme park.

Racing through the theme parks was so technical that it could have led to some interesting strategies. But nobody thought they would be able to hold a breakaway through the parks as none was really attempted. The best place portions of the course for fast skating would have been on the highways, which were at the start and end of each lap. The few attacks that did occur in the Pro Men's pack there were quite weak.

Passing through the start/finish line at the end of first lap the lead pack was still 30 skaters strong. In the second lap, the skaters had pretty much resigned doing anything until the final sprint. In the end, Joey Mantia of Florida came out victorious, followed by Dane Lewis, second, and KC Boutiette, third. Finishing times were relatively slow due to the cautious skating.

Over ten Pro Women came in together in the final sprint. The winner was Cecilia Baena, with Kelly Gunther in second place and Heather Elliot third.

As magical as the race may sound, the Disney Inline Marathon had one of the most technical courses. Numerous turns, blind corners, narrow lanes, and varying road surfaces all added to the challenge. Unfortunately, the most asked question after the race was not, "Did you crash?" but rather "How many times did you crash?"

There were so many crashes, some of them were truly spectacular. By far the most notable hazard were the two wooden boardwalks. Normally the boardwalks would not have been a problem, but an overnight shower left them wet, which was essentially like skating on ice. Almost every pack had an accident on one of the boardwalks.

Regardless, the Disney Inline Marathon was a well-organized event. The course would never qualify for world-class status, but factor in its uniqueness and you have a wonderful race. The Disney resort offers so much to do that extra days are required for this weekend getaway.


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