LAKE PLACID - Fifty-four competitors from throughout North America competed in the Lake Placid Ice Marathon in bitter cold, rainy and snowy conditions Dec. 16-18 at the Olympic Oval. It was the first marathon of the season in Lake Placid, and speed skaters had a choice between 10-kilometer, 21k or 42k races, or a combination of the distances.
The overall winners of the 10k were Caleb Hovey, of Ontario, Canada, and Rebecca Simmons, of Saratoga Springs. Hovey trains primarily in Calgary but comes to Lake Placid occasionally to race and train, while Simmons is a frequent participant in Oval meets and skates here almost every weekend.
The 21k and 42k overall golds were claimed by Hovey and Guylaine Larouche of Quebec, Canada. The 42k ended spectacularly for Hovey, with his last lap being the fastest time recorded in the entire marathon. Hovey and Simmons use the marathon to train for metric racing, while Larouche is a veteran marathon skater.
Trevor Marsicano, left, and Fletcher Codd skate in the 3,000-meter race of the All-Around Championships Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid.
Photo — Christie Sausa
Marathon skating is particularly popular in Europe and Canada, although several races take place in the United States. This discipline is different than metric (paired) speed skating in that skaters can work together in groups to complete their distances by skating in packs, and the distances are much longer.
For many years, the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club has hosted two marathons every season on the Oval as part of Marathon Skating International's racing series. Marathon Skating International (MSI) is an advisory organization dedicated to promoting marathon ice speed skating in North America, with a goal to encourage the inclusion of marathon skating in the Olympic Games. MSI supports a series of marathon races, assisting race organizers and awarding the Pierre Gagne Cup to the skater that earns the most points in their race series.
MSI President Neal Hundt participated in last weekend's marathon.
"The annual Lake Placid Ice Marathon is one of the marquee events on the circuit of speed skating marathons in North America; each year skaters from all over Canada and the US look forward to a weekend of speed skating and socializing in Lake Placid," Hundt said. "Participation in this past weekend's events was among the highest in recent years, despite rain (during Sunday's 42km marathon), snow (throughout Saturday morning's 21k half-marathon) and frigid temperatures (at the time of Friday night's 10k). Hats off to Christie Sausa and all the volunteers that made the weekend a success for those who attended, proving again that Lake Placid is among the jewels of marathon speed skating."
This year, for the first time in many years, skaters will be able to skate a marathon on Mirror Lake in the Empire State Winter Games' Marathon Skating and Citizen's Races, taking place on Feb. 4. The event is being hosted by Lake Placid Speed Skating Club and will be considered part of MSI's Marathon Series. More information can be found at www.empirestatewintergames.com.
The next marathon on the Oval is the Lake Placid Marathon Finale, taking place March 3-5, 2017.
More speed skating action comes to the Oval Jan. 7-8 with the Jack Shea Sprint Championships hosted by the Lake Placid Speed Skating Club. For more information, visit their website at www.lakeplacidspeed.com.
LAKE PLACID - The Adirondack All Around Championships, hosted by the Adirondack Speed Skating Club, brought approximately 20 athletes to the Oval for two days of racing on Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11.
Skaters from as far away as Canada competed in the 500-meter and 1,500-meter races on Saturday, and the 1,000 meter and 3,000 meter distances on Sunday.
Adirondack Speed Skating Club members and local speed skating stars Fletcher Codd and Sydney Yu-Terpening competed in the event. Codd won his age group of Junior B Male, while Terpening placed first in her age group of Junior B Female.
"I felt that it was a great start to the Lake Placid season and I can't wait for Junior Nationals coming up at the beginning of January," Terpening said.
Codd had a formidable opponent to race against as 2010 Olympic silver medalist and 2009 World Champion Trevor Marsicano participated in the meet, and was paired with him in all four distances. Marsicano skated the faster time in three distances, but Codd bested Marsicano with a time of 4:37:38 to Marsicano's 4:37:79 in the 3,000-meter race . Both Marsicano and Codd enjoyed their experience of racing together.
"Skating against Trevor was great," Codd said. "It was really amazing to be skating against someone who once had a world record, went to the Olympics and multiple World Cups."
The respect was mutual.
"I was last competing here in 2006 or 2007," Marsicano said. "It brought back a lot of memories since this is where I started (long track) so it was cool getting back to those roots and racing with one of the next up and coming guys like Fletcher, and competing for fun."
The overall winners of the event were Marsicano and Rebecca Simmons of Saratoga Winter Club, an elite Masters skater who trains in Lake Placid on the weekends.
"To me the true experience of speed skating is skating outside and battling the elements, and getting back to how speed skaters used to race," Marsicano said.
"The race this weekend was fun and enjoyable despite the snow; it's always a great experience in Lake Placid," Simmons said. "Sydney always keeps me on my toes in those sprints, but I was happy to hold consistent lap times during the 3k."
President of the ASSC and meet director Tom Miller was very pleased with the meet's outcome.
"I was hoping for larger numbers but conflict with Canadian schedule hurt us," Miller said. "We are looking ahead to the Empire State (short track and long track) and US National Long Track Championships we are running and hosting".
For more information on the Adirondack Speed Skating Club, visit their Facebook page.