The late summer sun was shining on Saturday afternoon at around 1 p.m., warming up the guests at the Inline Village between the Reichstag and Brandenburg It was packed full with participants and visitors, who were relaxing with their first beer and numerous other delicious snacks, sharing their skating experiences.
The spectators gathered in increasing numbers along the finish line on the Straße des 17. Juni, that was already set up for the runners’ MARATHON on Sunday. There was a colourful supporting programme there, one highlight being a 100 m sprint between cyclist Jens Voigt and skater Chad Hedrick.
A wet start and dry final sprint
By this time an exciting MARATHON already lay behind them, which had started on a wet surface but ended with a dry final sprint and sunshine in the Inline Village. The big party in the Reichstag subway station still lay ahead that evening.
The participants clearly reacted positively to the many diverse activities offered to the inline skaters over the weekend. The Skating Schedule and Participant Information, which were communicated to the participants in several ways supplied the red thread through the sporting weekend in Berlin. The aim was to make it a weekend (more than just the MARATHON) full of good experiences for all of those participating.
Crowds at the stage and at the Inlinenews Meeting Point It all began on Friday afternoon in Hall 22a with an opening event for the inline skaters after they picked up their race numbers at the MARATHON fair BERLIN VITAL. With free drinks and pasta, skaters got together and got informed about the newest trends and last minute information about the MARATHON at the Inlinenews Meeting Point, and they met up with sporting comrades from a long skating season.
At the peak times it was hard to find a spot. The special highlights of the day were the film about the course and later also the presentation of the skaters of the World Inline Cup, WIC. The participants of the MARATHON Guide Action meanwhile rolled around the Summer Garden of the fairgrounds for their common goal.
Lots going on in the Inline Village
The day of the MARATHON began with an ominous look out the window. While it had dried up by the evening before the race, overnight it pour buckets, and everything was dreary and wet. Thank goodness it stopped raining by early morning, and by 8 a.m. it began to get busy in the Inline Village. Stimulating images of last year’s MARATHON were projected on a big screen, and the moderator fired up the participants.
The starting shot was fired by ice skating world champion Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt.
The complex starting procedure of 8 starts for 8 groups began with a novum—an early start. The women who started ahead of the gun were able to be stopped at ca. 100 metres, and they returned calmly to their starting block. After that the start went without further ado, not the least due to the precise starting shots fired by Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt.
The experiment of having the top women start before the top men was met with a positive response from those involved. However, the men caught up with the women at ca. 3 km, which was not supposed to happen until km 8. What happened in the race thereafter is known: There was a surprise victory by Roger Schneider of Switzerland, and a less surprising winning sprint by the only 17-year-old Columbian woman, Cäcilia Baena!
A sunny afternoon
The race was followed by a well-earned sunny afternoon in the Inline Village. The race between Jens Voigt and Chad Hedrick was such a success that they both spontaneously decided for a rematch next year at the same place on bike and skates.
We are looking forward to 2005!
Successful entertainment along the final stretch
Naturally unnoticed by the participants of the MARATHON, there were all kinds of activities going on for the spectators along the final stretch on the boulevard Unter den Linden. Three children’s races, the “Roller Man“, as well as three free-stylers from Rollerblade kept the spectators entertained. The “Roller Man“, a science fiction figure with wheels all over his body, also thrilled the crowds at the party with extra all-body lighting. A closing highlight was a slow-motion re-enactment of the free stylers finish.
A short loss of electricity was well relieved by impromptu comedy provided by the commentators Karsten Holland and Sebastian Baumgartner.
About 2,000 guests at the debut of the After-Skate Party
About 2,000 people showed up for the crowing after-skate party in the unfinished subway station “Reichstag”, to everyone’s great surprise and pleasure. Nobody expected such a success in this first year of having an official party for the inline skaters. The great hall, still under construction, was filled to the last spot and the dance floor was packed until 5 a.m.
The at times slow access to the party and at the end lack of sufficient drinks signalises that the organisers, too, were surprised by the great dimension and popularity of the event.
First place for the skaters
One must make a note of the fact in the discipline of partying, the skaters lay well ahead of the runners. The greater number of guests and the considerably busier dance floor speak for themselves.
Note by the Internet crew:
Don’t forget though, that the runners were out on the course a lot longer than the skaters (or maybe some of them are really just party poopers).