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THE WEEKLY CALISTOGAN

THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2007

 

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will present an excellent opportunity to showcase inline skating’s world wide interest.” There were a lot of riders, veterans and first-timers, who did show up from all over the U.S., however.

Honeymooners Lura and Derek Bennett decided they’d take a train out west for the event. The couple, who’ve only been married for about six months, decided they’d tackle the event together, even though, for Lura, it would mean hitting the road on inline skates for the very first time. Derek, however, was there for support — he’s “been at it a while.” Both rolled along in the half-marathon.

The youngest of the skaters hailed from Brooklyn, NY. Juliet Breza, 12, and her sister Skye, 9, joined their dad, a native of Los Angeles, and all three skated in the half-marathon. The average age of the skaters in the events was between 30 and 40, according to one estimate.

James Prial came all the way from San Francisco for this year’s event. Prial, a veteran skater, is an amputee, and has a signature hop he does as he approaches the finish line.  Prail lost his left leg just below the knee in a motorcycle accident in 1982. But he doesn’t let that slow him down. He competed in the 26.3-mile marathon event.

From Reno, Nev., Miysheal Gailson was likely the most unusual skater, rolling along in the half-marathon on what can arguably be called the most unusual pair of skates, ever. Each skate had a single wheel. It was his own invention, he said.

Although some prize money was to be awarded to the top pro skaters, Miles said the event is not about capital rewards.

“This event is not about prize money,” Miles said via e-mail. “It’s about the love of skating and sharing that with as many as possible.  It’s about getting out on your skates on one of the world’s most beautiful roadways in America and letting it all hang out.”

The sport of inline speed skating got tremendous exposure in the 2006 Torino Olympic Games. Chad Hedrick, an inline skating champion, won a full set of gold, silver and bronze medals. Shani Davis was the first African American to ever win a gold medal in a Winter Olympics. Joey Cheek, Jennifer Rodrigeuz, Apolo Ohno, Casey Fitzrandolf, K C Boutette and Derrick Parra are all inline speed skaters that have crossed over to the ice to experience Olympic glory for the USA, according to Miles.

A list of all the finalists in numerous categories can be found on the Internet at http://www.cora.org.