|Disney Inline Marathon
Orlando, FL - May 1, 2004
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
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