Inline Skating: NorthShore Inline Marathon Celebrates Silver Anniversary


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Although Zach Burns is in his first year as NorthShore Inline Marathon Race Director, he is certainly no stranger to the event.

“When this race started I was a kid sitting on the sidewalk watching people skate in their old fashioned skates, so that’s part of my life,” Burns said. “I was born and raised in Duluth and witnessed and watched this race take hold, and I am grateful to be sitting in this position to continue the tradition.”

A tradition, as Burns notes, which has lasted for 25 years, with the event founded in 1996.

The NorthShore Inline Marathon celebrates its 25th anniversary with the Two Harbors 26.2 mile inline skate race in downtown Duluth on Saturday morning along scenic Highway 61 overlooking Lake Superior.

Burns said about 1,400 participants have registered for the various races, of which about 200 are virtually. He said about 950 are registered to skate the 26.2 miles and about 350 are registered to skate the 13.1 mile half marathon.

“We’re the biggest (inline skating) race in the country and the fourth in the world,” Burns said. “If you want to be the best online racer in the United States, this is the place to do it.”

Skaters still had time to register in person for the Expo until Friday at DECC’s Pioneer Hall.

Last year’s race was only run virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To be able to celebrate 25 years in person is pretty fantastic,” said Burns.

This year, masks will be mandatory on buses for transport until the races start on Saturday and were recommended at the Expo.

“We are following the guidelines of the Minnesota Department of Health,” Burns said. “One of the things that is beautiful about our race is the way we start people. We have waves that are spread out and allow people to have space everywhere. “

The NorthShore Inline Marathon record is 57 minutes, 18 seconds, set in 1998 by future Olympic Winter Games gold medalist speed skater Chad Hedrick of Spring, Texas, who was just 21 at the era.

“It’s basically like an average of 27 mph, and a bit of a change, for the duration of the course,” Burns said, adding that he expects the skating to be fast and furious. “We have guys ready to set records this year. It’s going to be quick, and it’s going to be beautiful.

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