Thursday, February 23, 2006
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Disney Marathon - Drive Sports Report
   DisneyWorld, Orlando Orlando, FL
   Sunday, March 30, 2003

DriveSports opens the season with a medal parade!

by Paul Mc Donald

Sunday, March 30th signaled the start of the 2003 season with the Inaugural Disney Inline Marathon in DisneyWorld, Orlando Florida. It seemed a bit early in the season to be racing outdoors at all, let alone a full blown marathon. Tensions seems less than at most races, probably because most people mixed the business at hand with all the activites to be seen at DisneyWorld. This reporter was fortunate enough to stay at the Wild Animal Kingdom lodge. Not only was this fairly close to the start of the race, but the lodge has an added bonus of having it's own animal compound complete with giraffes, wildebeasts, zebras, andd dozens of other African animals all outside your room window!

Tensions did rise the night before as most weather reports called for rain the morning of the race. Luckily, the rain held off until just after the award ceremony. Race time temperatures were in the low 60 degrees, with some partly cloudy skies. I was able to skate around some of the roads near the start and found them to be fairly smooth and in good shape. Jane Carey and Jim Bourgiose decided to skate throught the actual park properties and were stopped by security guards. The Orlando police were called and the police escorted them on their skates on some busy highways back to their hotel! The start of the race was well organized, with well marked sections for each wave with lots of portable bathrooms. Waves were 2:00 minutes apart.

The race itself was a combination of half open highway and half twisting paths through several Disney parks. For the advanced pack, the first loop was fairly uneventful as skates navigated the new course and no others skaters were encountered. The second loop was a different story as the advanced pack had to deal with slower rec skaters and the pro women pack that was cought just before the twisting park section. Mark Wiater took charge of a small group at the head of the pack and surged ahead of the pro women before being caught up with the women. Josh Willis and I were not so fortunate as we could not get past the pro women in the twisty turns of the park. We could see Mark and his pack as the turns twisted, but as a good team member I held back the rest of the pack so that Mark would be assured of a placement (yeah, right!). My pack would for the rest of the race be tangled up with the pro women as they picked up the pace in the last several miles on the open road. Mark would finish in 1:20:59, just a second ahead of his second place foe for the age group prize. Josh and I would follow up 13 seconds later to seal up our respective third place age group prizes. After plenty of drinks and food, the awards ceremony was held outside on a well manacured lawn with olympic medalist Jen Rodriguez handing out the Pro and Pro Master prizes. The skies opened up just as the ceremony was coming to a close, but could not spoil a great day. Make sure you place this on your calendar for next year, it should be bigger and better!

Mark and I check out skate position to make sure we don't trip over the mat.
There were four timing mats throughout the course so course officials could monitor the progress of the race.

The countdown is about to begin!

Let the games begin!

Josh sprints to the finish, while I'm happy to get in before the three behind me!


Mark (middle, 1st place) and Paul (middle, third place) take the podium for 1st and 3rd awards in the 40-44 age group.

Josh Willis gets his third place in age group prize!

Oliver Martinez of Empire Speed had a great race and gets 1st in his age group!


The view from my room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.


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