Sunday, February 19, 2006
153 Skaters Online
North of the 49th Marathon
   Birds Hill Park Winnipeg, MAN
   Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cloudy skies with temps in the low 50�s (15C) greeted the almost 100 skaters at the 8th annual marathon in Winnipeg.The race took place in Birds Hill Park (1999 Pan AM Games Venue) with a beautiful 11.2 km course with a long gentle hill which the skaters climb 3 times.Many thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors (Dimark Research, Red River Speed, Bont, TwinCam, Powerslide, Unicity Eye Clinic, Klassen Manufacturing, Arnason Industries, Olympia Cycle and Ski, and Rollersports Manitoba) and all theskaters who made this event such a huge success.

The race started off as usual with some small attacks by Flanders, Aloe Up, Adams Inline and Bont.The first 2 laps saw all the break attempts neutralized.The start of the third lap saw Thong Nguyen (Adams Inline) attack going up the hill, followed closely by Bont�s Randy Plett.The two were caught about a kilometer following the crest of the hill.Then Mike Anderson attacked and dragged Nguyen and Plett along for the ride.The three quickly established a 100 meter lead.The lead slowly widened over the chase group and Anderson dropped back about 4 km�s later with back cramps.Plett continued to push hard for the remainder of lap 3 trying to gain as much ground as possible over the chase group.With one lap remaining and starting the final climb up the long hill, Plett and Nguyen had almost a 300 meter gap.They continued to hold this gap for the next 4 km�s.At the top of the last small up hill with about 6 km�s remaining in the race, the chase group was making up ground and closing in.Nguyen�s legs were spent and had trouble holding Plett�s wheel.The two continued on for another 3 kms, and Nguyen finally cracked and went back to the pack.The lead had come down to only about 150 meters and Plett was intent on holding them off.Having home track advantage, Plett put on one final surge over the next 1.5 kms to reach the final downhill approach to the finish.Once on the downhill, he knew the cat and mouse games had begun in the pack and his race was won.Plett finished 13 seconds ahead of the pack in 1:15:13.

The pack sprint was hotly contested with Jay Jackson, Thong Nguyen and Hal Lightwood from Thunder Bay Ontario and Bill Gabos coming in for 5th.Nguyen had an amazing second place finish despite being tired from his breakaway efforts for almost 2 laps.

The Women�s race was won by Flanders skater, Heather Prois of Minneapolis 1:21:51 followed by Karla Cybulsky (Team Manitoba) Maren Hagen (Sk8Hard, Duluth MN) and Lorraine Kehler Plett in 4th followed byAnn Van Bellinger in 5th.

Full race results can be seen at

See you all next year and hopefully a few more skaters will experience this great course.

©RRN and