29 Mar 2016

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Save These Dates in 2017:
Feb 18, 19, & 20, for the
Memphremagog Skating Festival
(with marathons)
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Silver Skate Festival Marathon 20-21 Feb, 2016

Celebrating its 26th anniversary in 2016, the Silver Skate Festival is the longest running winter festival in Edmonton, Alberta. Over the years it has grown in leaps and bounds, from a small skating event to a large-scale, winter extravaganza. Last year, more than 85,000 visitors came out to play.

The Silver Skate Festival with host partner the Edmonton Speed Skating Association is pleased to present the 2016 Marathon Speed Skating Races, with distances of 1, 1-, and 25km. Click to go to the event site.



(Above: Clear but cold skies took place for this year's ice marathon on Valentine's Day, 14 Feb 2016, on a 1.2 km track located on the southeast corner of Lake Memphremagog. Owl's Head mountain in Quebec looms in the background. All photos by Phil White).

Newport, Vermont, 15 February 2016- The rescheduled Lake Memphremagog Marathon took place over the weekend. Braving bitter cold, the events drew a high spirited crew of skaters from both sides of the border: Ontario, Sherbrooke, Magog, Quebec City, Montreal, Drummondville, Three Rivers, Boston, Derby, Newport Ithaca, Long Island, and Hanover.

Ice conditions were nice, thanks to Dennis Chennette, Don Haughton, Jr. Hayley Joseph, Pam Ladds, Anne Chiarellom and Kristian Pearson. Thanks also to the Passumpsic Savings Bank, Eden Ice Cider, and the Northeseat Kingdom (NEK) Tasting Center and the City of Newport for their support of the Winter Games, and to The Eastside Restaurant and staff for being such a wonderful host.

Men's division winners of Saturday’s 21 km race were Rejean Blais of Quebec City (center), First Place with a time of 50:52; 2nd Place, Tom Keane of Cambridge, MA, (left) 55:35; and 3rd Place, David Phillips of East Quogue, NY, (right), 58:26.

Each winner received a bag of locally-made beef jerky. First Place winners received a jug of Vermont maple syrup.




Women's division winners of Saturday’s 21 km race were Guylaine Larouche of Orford, QC, (center) 1st Place with a time of 57:53; Yvonne Halter of Sherbrooke (right), 2nd Place at 1:02:27; and 3rd Place, Carole Moore of East Quogue, NY, at 1:11:55.




Sunday saw even colder weather but less wind.  The marathon was abbreviated from 42 km to another 21 km race around the track.  Tom Keane took first place in 58:08. David Phillips placed second with a time of  58:16, and Sam Creighton of Ithaca, NY took third in 1:28:17.  Among the women, Karin Chamberlain, took home the beef jerky and maple syrup with a time of 1:11:58 with Heidi Hatch of Ontario placing second in 1:18:12.

This is the third year skaters have raced on Lake Memphremagog on a track prepared by Kingdom Games with the help of Marathon Skating International.  The event was originally scheduled for January 30-31, but warm weather prevented work on the track. Warmer temperatures undermined the thickness of the ice, causing the event director's truck to fall through the ice while clearing the track (Phil White got out OK; he even had time to grab important things like his skates; the truck now sits in 20 feet of water, awaiting salvage after the spring thaw). The recent stretch of colder weather allowed Phil to get more equipment back out on the ice to prepare for the event.

The organizers were unable to plow a trail for the afternoon Adventure Skate.  A trail was cut to the pressure ridge at The Bluffs, but the plow froze up in the cold on Sunday and prevented further efforts to go further north.

Phil's concluding remarks: "This year was definitely a challenge, but we ended up with some very good ice. The success of this year's events solidified my belief that Lake Memphremagog has a place among North American natural lake ice skating venues.  I'm looking forward to 2017!"

This report was based on emails and Facebook posts by Phil White, director of Kingdom Games and race director of the Lake Memphremagog Marathon; edited by Neal Hundt of MSI.