Printed: Thursday, February 23, 2006
Big Granite Marathon
   On the Road Ashland, WI
   Saturday, June 19, 2004


Seven miles from the finish of Wisconsin's fourth Big Granite Marathon, Randy Bowman of team PyroApparel was sliding face-first through the gravel and weeds of the Upland foothills while the front group disappeared over the crest of the course's main descent.  Seven miles later he was still spitting dirt but smiling, having chased and caught, recovered and jumped clear with two hundred yards of race left. Truly a worthy winner of one of the most skater-friendly events on the calendar, the twenty-one-year-old from Ohio took home a nice trophy and some vindication, having finished ninth and fifth on previous attempts.

Randy Bowman

Held on the slopes of iron-ore country overlooking
Lake Superior, this Duluth spin-off is a fine race in its own right.  Nowhere in the country have I seen a crew out grooming the ENTIRE COURSE the day before.  Results are prompt and accurate, traffic control superb, the terrain challenging and the fields top quality for a regional event. 

This year's mens pro start list included past winners Jeff Terwilliger (Bodyglide) and Tone Coughlin (Bont), perrenial top-three Matt Robinson (Fast Forward), the usual strong contingent from
Flanders, two Bont teams, Rainbow, and three from PyroApparel including the eventual winner.  Conspicuous in his absence from the field was Terry Holm who served as technical director.
A quality pair of newcomers in Dennis Humphreys and Bob Tyson (Dimon)from
New York added to the anticipation of a fine competition.

It was COLD, around forty degrees at the start, quite a change from previous years' summer weather.  Bonus- no black flies!  It was WINDY, which made for a slow start and technical finish.  But the sun was out, and all in all a good day for racing.

In the first of the two laps previous winner Coughlin forced the pace, often dangling fifty yards off the front of the field.  He and the mile-and-a-half climb whittled the front group to about twenty-five of the 171 starters.

Second time up the hill Bowman attacked hard and the group nearly splintered on the steep opening ramp.  Finally he stood up, and some regrouping took place. At the pause, Matt Robinson fresh from his win at
Elkhart rolled off the front and was joined by Alan Marcosson (PyroApparel) and two others.  They strung it out again but couldn't quite get clear.  Nobody had the stuff to attack on the last steep stretch at the top.  It was starting to look like a bunch sprint of about fifteen at eight miles to go.

Non-sprinter Marcosson rolled off the front and put his head down. With a strong tailwind and a little blocking from Bowman, he opened up a hundred-yard lead. For a while it looked interesting, but the Bonts wised up, went to the lead and hammered.  The Pyro man was caught on a sweeping left hand curve high overlooking the start-finish area.  The group slowed, spread out, and Bowman went into the ditch.  Nobody attacked; really... on the ensuing descent they were all pretty much at terminal velocity!  Somehow Bowman caught up despite multiple factors
including the fact that the pack had such a head start before cresting the big hill  that late in the race; bruised ribs and abrasions; and most importantly the greater mass to surface area of the lead pack relative to Bowmans mass to surface area when bombing the hill which leads to greater speeds.

Six more miles, mostly flat; fatigue and the stiff wind the only real factors.  A good deal of feinting, a little pushing, skates clicking here and there...  A couple real wind-ups on the headwind finishing straight, and then just when it looked like a real mass mess in the making, Marcosson went up the left side of the road in a determined attempt to string things out and launch his team-mate.  The same tactic in 2003 had proved too early and too feeble, but this time the pair from Ohio got it right.

Behind the front group, numerous personal and team rivalries played out as the entire field finished with no serious injury or incident (no deer collision this year!).

Pro ladies came from as far as
Florida (Stacey Eldridge) and North Carolina (Kendra Hudson).  Those two had a tight battle for second place behind winner Kara Peterson of St Paul.  And, Holly Liske a 17-year-old fitness-rec skater from Medford Wisc bulled her way into the top five.

View complete results at  and plan to to come next year!

Randy Bowman :This makes his 3rd marathon win in a row!

Cactus Classic, Texas Road Rash and now Big Granite.


Pro/Adv - Open Male                                                                      Time

Bowman, Randy                 Cuyahoga Falls, OH                              1:17:09.5

Coughlin, Tone                   Duluth, MN                                            1:17:11.3

Terwillger, Jeff                    Edina, MN                                             1:17:11.5

Farnsworth, Mark                Raleigh, NC                                          1:17:11.6

Peterson, Thomas              St. Paul, MN                                          1:17:11.7


Pro/Adv - Open Female

Peterson, Kara                   St. paul, MN                                           1:24:40.5

Eldridge,                             Stacey Jacksonville                                1:31:26.4

Hudson, Kendra                 Raleigh, NC                                             1:31:31.2


Pro/Adv - Masters Male

Robinson, Matt                  Madison, WI                                            1:17:11.0

King, Todd                        Minneapolis, MN                                       1:17:11.2

Zaker, Dan                        Orland Park, IL                                         1:17:11.7

Plett, Randy                      Winnipeg, MAN, CAN                               1:17:12.0

Bartz, Dave                       Hayward, WI                                             1:17:12.5


Pro/Adv - Masters Female

Ariagno, Margo                 Northfield, IL                                              1:34:11.1

Smith, Karen                     Woodbury, MN                                         1:46:24.9


Pro/Adv - Veteran Male 26 Division Field:

Humphrey, Dennis Albany, NY                                                           1:17:11.5

Scheer, Fred Hayward, WI                                                                 1:17:15.0

Marcoson, Alan Cleveland, OH                                                           1:17:37.9

Cavell, Cale Northfield, IL                                                                   1:19:26.4

Major, Greg Chicago, IL                                                                     1:21:36.7


Pro/Adv - Veteran Female 2 Division Field:

Heagerty, Vicki St. Louis Park, MN                                                     1:27:25.6

Backman, Sue Minneapolis, MN                                                         1:34:18.5


For complete results go to:



by Miguel Jordan, M.D.                and              Alan Marcosson


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