It's never too early to start updating your personal calendar for the coming winter and marathon speedskating season. To be sure you don't miss these events, take a moment to reserve these dates:
|Nov 29 & 30, 2014
||Quebec Marathon||Sainte-Foy, Quebec City|
|Dec 6-8, 2014
||Golden Skates Marathon||Lake Placid|
|Jan 24, 2015
||Skate the Lake||Portland, Ontario|
|Jan 24 & 25, 2015
||National Marathon at Petite Center||Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Jan 31, 2015-
Feb 1, 2015
|North American Marathon at Lake Memphremagog||Newport, Vermont|
|Feb 8 & 9, 2015
||Challenge of the
Plains of Abraham
|Feb 27-Mar 1, 2015
||Marathon Finale||Lake Placid|
Traditionally the season opens in November with the Quebec City Marathon. Artificial ice on the superb 400-meter track in the Quebec City suburb of Saint-Foy virtually guarantees the marathon speedskating season will start as scheduled (always check this website before travelling for up-to-the moment conditions).
Another 400-meter oval will be used to host the the Golden Skates Marathon in Lake Placid, New York. The historic Olympic Speedskating Oval (1932, 1980) will see three days of racing, beginning Friday evening with a 10km under the lights. Saturday's program is the usual 25km, followed on Sunday by a 50km.
The first marathons of 2015 will be held on the same weekend in both Canada and the US. Those of you that want to skate a marathon indoors can enter the US National Marathon on January 24 and 25 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It takes place in conjunction with an indoor marathon, where runners make laps around the outside of the rink.
If natural ice is calling you, Skate the Lake in Portland, Ontario, returns to its one-day format on January 24, 2015, on Big Rideau Lake. Don't miss it!
The Lake Memphremagog Marathon in Newport, Vermont, joins the MSI series of marathons with a permanent spot on the annual marathon calendar. This past season's impromptu 21- and 42-km races were a great success in terms of venue preparation, ice conditions, and skaters who were pleased with the return of speedskating to a lake that straddles the border with Quebec. Phil White, race director, will host the North American Marathon at Lake Memphremagog, January 31 and February 1. Easily accessible from all points north and south, Newport, Vermont, is the ideal setting for this special event and can easily draw skaters from both sides of the friendly border. Within a half hour drive of the marathon track is Jay Peak Resort, offering world-class skiing and accomodations (including an indoor waterpark).
The Challenge of the Plains of Abraham ("Defi", en francais) will again return to historic Battlefield Park high above the St. Lawrence River in Quebe City on February 8 and 9. Last season's debut of the new refrigerated oval was yet another milestone in the development of speedskating for Quebec and all those who travelled there.
Additional international marathon on Lake Memphremagog! In the winter of 1985, 700 Dutchmen crossed the Atlantic to take part in an unprecedented adventure: Skating 200 kilometers in one day along the shoreline of Lake Memphremagog. The Dutch skaters went home and their visit was quickly forgotten. Until this year.
Phil White and Kingdom Games volunteers plowed a skating trail in January, 2014, on Lake Memphremagog from Newport to Magog, Quebec. If weather and ice conditions permit in 2015, a trail will again be created, but this time to stage an international marathon. The date chosen for this exciting event is Monday, February 2, 2015, following the weekend of the North American Marathon on the same lake. Watch this space for more details in the winter. Can you say Elfstedentocht?
Enjoy the rest of the summer, then get ready for another great winter of marathon skating!