News & Stories
The Loppet Welcomes Speedskating to the City of Lakes Loppet Festival!
Bemidji Marathon – Photo: Lisa Sjogren
When one hears the word speedskating many people think of Apolo Ohno skating in little ovals on a hockey rink or Shani Davis skating on a 400-meter oval but there is another type of event for speedskaters, a marathon. Speedskating marathons can be as short as 10 km or as long as 200 km. Marathons are traditionally held on natural ice with a minimum of a 1 km track, however some tracks are much longer.
Marathon skating is not like traditional long track speedskating. Marathon skaters are more upright and skate in packs. The lead of the pack changes so skaters can rest a little while drafting. While some skaters are fast and very competitive, many marathoners skate for the enjoyment and work together to support each other through the finish. In other words, do not let your speed discourage you from skating in this event!
To skate the marathon you will need some form of long blade skates. One option is to use traditional long blade skates. You can use skates designed for natural ice and marathon skating but any long blade skate will work. A second option is to use Nordic skate blades. Nordic skate blades attach onto cross-country ski boots and are designed for skating on natural ice.
New to the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival are two speedskating marathons. Friday afternoon skaters will skate the 25 km marathon. On Saturday afternoon skaters have the opportunity to skate the 50 km marathon. For younger skaters and adults who want to have a little fun on figure or hockey skates, a 1 km race will be held on Saturday afternoon.