Printed: Wednesday, February 16, 2005
The Great Race
   Road Elkhart, IN
   Monday, May 31, 2004


The Great Race 2004, Elkhart IN                                                 Great race course map   

Greg Major

 

In the past this was an early season 10k race on a flat course that was great for getting you ready for the outdoor racing season.  That changed this year.  This years event was a marathon,  on a course with some good climbs, and it was wet.  I had driven the course the night before the race and was concerned about a few spots.  There were two spots that had rushing water going across the road from all the rain the past few days.  Then several of the turns had so much gravel it was hard to tell where the road was.  Finally theres this hard left hand turn onto a narrow road in the middle of  a downhill grade, not too steep, but steep enough to pick up too much speed to make that turn if youre not careful, and at the time I wasnt considering if it was wet.  The road was drying out pretty well as I drove the course but the pavement seemed pretty rough in spots but nothing that couldnt be skated over.  I went to bed that night knowing it was supposed to rain a little more but optimistic that it would dry out by race time.

 

I wake up race morning and turn on the weather channel right away.  It appears the rain has moved out of the area.  I look out the window and the ground is totally soaked.  Im thinking theres no way this will be dry by race time.  Then realized it hadnt stopped raining either.  Ok, I have to get geared up to skate a wet, hilly marathon.  I dont mind the hills, my I hate skating wet surfaces.  I just never do very well.  I try to put myself in a more positive state and prepare to head to the start site.  My wife, Michelle, drops me off at the Goshen Middle School where the race will start.  Its a point to point course.  She heads off with 8month old McKenna to start the 10K run.

 

Were told by the organizer the race will go on so were off to the start line mile down the road.  The race starts off with everyone being a little cautious due to the conditions.  The first turn is about a mile into the start.  We have the wind at our backs, its slightly downhill, and were picking up speed.  We all manage to make through the first turn with out a mishap.  The next 4   miles are straight but there are quite a few climbs.  The first climb is a short steep wall that has us all trying to figure out the best line up.  I found that a short running stride worked the best as I climbed up the right of the course to move into the top 4 or 5 skaters.  The pack split a little but quickly closed back together.  After a nice little staircase climb we got a little relief with a nice little downhill.  The first big split in the race came at the next hill at about the 5 mile mark.  Matt Robinson made a break up the left side of the road.  I followed for a little while but then thought Id conserve energy and stay with the pack.  Once we crested the top Matt had a pretty good gap on us but I though wed real him in.  Left in the pack were L.R. Cole from Rockford, MI, Alan Marcosson from Cleveland, OH, Peter Sharykowidz from Outer Space,  Dan Zaker, from Chicago, Il and yours truly.  Dan and I got dropped from Alan, Peter and L.R. at about mile 7.  My legs were shot from running up the hills earlier in the race.  Dan was still pretty strong.  We took turns at first then it was clear he had more gas in the tank than I did and he pulled me a long for few miles.  The last hill on the course came at the 9 mile mark.  Thats where my legs gave out.  As Dan pulled away I looked back over my shoulder to see if there was another pack or anyone else I could skate the rest of the way in.  Not too far back was teammate Cale Carvell.  I waited for him to catch up then we started working together to see if we could real Dan in.  After a short time it became clear we werent making any progress and we just settled into a nice rhythm.  Up in front Matt stayed away from the the chase group and one the race with a great effort.  The chase group broke up before the finish with Pete taking second, Alan third, and L.R. fourth.  Dan Zaker skated to a nice 5th place finish.

 

Back in burnt out land, Cale and realized there was a skater catching up to us.  At this point the race was really over, we were out of the money but theres still a little matter of pride.  When we hit the final straight away with 1 miles to go Cale says someones gaining on us.  I thought with such little distance if we just kept up a good pace we wouldnt be caught.  As were getting closer to the line Cale says this guys closing so I start to pick it up in the front.  With about 100 meters to go I hear Hes on us  So I go faster.  Im thinking hes got to tired chasing us all this way but then I see him out of the side of my eye so I sprint to the line just barley holding him off.  It wasnt until the we crossed the line that I realized it was good friend and teammate Mike Mandli.  Cale and I werent blazing but we werent going that slow either.  It was an amazing effort by Mike to close as much distance as he did.  Anyway that was about the most drama in the race. 

 

There was the one corner.  You start going down a hill on slick road.  About a of the way down you have to make a hard left unto a narrow road not leaving much room for error.  It was tough for the experienced skaters.  I was really worried about some of the less experienced skaters handling that turn.  Most made it through but a couple of skaters didnt.  No one was seriously injured but there was some pretty bad cases of road rash.  Congratulations to all who made it through this event.  It was one of the tougher races due to the conditions.

 

All in all this was a really good event.  There will some improvements next year to make a little better for the skaters but he course is great.  I would really like to skate it when its dry.  Now its wait for the next race.  The Brainerd Marathon. 

 

These results are a little messed up.  I know that Nina Mutz of Team Rainbo was the first women to cross but I'm not sure of her time.  Margo Ariagno of Team Rainbo was 2nd. 

Results

    1    *  MATT ROBINSON            MADISON WI         M 39  03:16    42:48.9
      2    *  PETER SHARYKOWIDZ                           M 19  03:19    43:29.3
      3    *  ALAN MERCOSSON           CLEVELAND OH       M 53  03:19    43:30.3
      4    1  LR COLE                  ROCKFORD MI        M 37  03:20    43:45.6
      5    1  DAN ZAKER                ORLAND PARK IL     M 43  03:24    44:40.0
      6    1  GREG MAJOR               CHICAGO OL         M 47  03:29    45:46.7
      7    * MIKE MANDLI                                                         03:29    45:47.0
      8    *  CALE CARVELL                                                0  03:29    45:48.2
      9    1  LARRY GRIFFIN            WADSWORTH OH       M 55  03:32    46:23.5
     10    *  ########  3997  ########                       0  03:32    46:23.8
     11    2  BOB HARWELL              INDIANAPOLIS IN    M 59  03:33    46:41.4
     12    1  KEVIN ONEILL             CHICAGO IL         M 29  03:42    48:30.0
     13    1  MARK BURL                LORAIN OH          M 52  03:42    48:30.2
     14    *  ########  3996  ########                       0  03:42    48:30.4
     15    1  BOGDAN GUGIU             RICHMOND HEIGHTOH  M 33  03:42    48:31.0
     16    *  MARGO ARIAGNO            NORTHFIELD IL      W 42  03:42    48:31.5
     17    2  JEFF NEMCHER             NAPERVILLE IL      M 34  03:47    49:38.3
     18    3  RONALD PUGH              AMHERST NY         M 34  03:57    51:48.3
     19    2  ERIC JOHNSON             MANTENO IL         M 28  03:57    51:56.7
     20    *  MARY MCLEOD              URBANA IL          W 56  04:00    52:31.5
     21    2  GENE WHITE               WHITE LAKE MI      M 46  04:01    52:48.0
     22    *  ########  3995  ########                       0  04:02    53:01.1
     23    2  JIM MATHER               NEWPORT MI         M 51  04:09    54:23.3
     24    *  ########  3994  ########                       0  04:11    54:52.3
     25    *  ########  3993  ########                       0  04:14    55:28.8
     26    1  JAN KOPIS                DOWNERS GROVE IL   M 61  04:14    55:30.0
     27    3  BRIAN JOYCE              ARLINGTON HEIGHIL  M 48  04:15    55:40.8
     28    1  JULIE KOKOLUS            MOKENA IL          W 34  04:24    57:38.3
     29    2  MASAAKI NAGAMURA         WILMETTE IL        M 40  04:24    57:38.5
     30    1  CHRISTIAN HENN           EVANSTON IL        M 12  04:24    57:39.7
     31    1  MURPHY QUINN             GLENVIEW IL        M 15  04:30    59:02.2

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