Cross Challenge on 24 October 2021

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Speed Skaters Mecca in September

Fast course in Berlin


It has finally made the rounds that the real,- BERLIN MARATHON is one of the fastest, if the THE fastest, city courses in the world. What should be considered to be an honor also turned out to be a bit of a problem, which the SCC Berlin, as event organizor on September 29, 2002, had to discover very clearly for the first time. 8365 official skaters (and unfortunately numerous illegal participants) on their 8 or 10 wheels made their way on their city tour through the German capital. Among them were all of the sponsored teams who were trying not only to get the winners prize, but also to beat the one hour time limit from Berlin, as well as a multitude of amateur skaters who were participating in such an event for the first time.

Thus, the spectators saw the most different starts at the Urania. While the top skaters fought for every inch right from the beginning, many skaters in the back blocks started out much more relaxed. The Medical Director of the marathon, Dr. Willi Heepe, who watched the start from his motorcycle, remarked at the press conference following the race that he was very pleased with the disciplined start of all the skaters.

Unfortunately, this picture changed suddenly at the 7 km mark, where a wheelchair participant was thrown out of his chair. It makes me wonder what happened to the fairness of a few skaters. In general, it was apparent that with the increased number of top athletes that the leading crowd was larger than in the years before. But shouldn that have triggered the thinking process and the participants come to the conclusion that they needed to be more disciplined and considerate?

I had the impression that some of the participants (unfortunately, exactly the ones who didn completely have their wheels under control) were fighting visciously for every second. What happened to the fun of the sport? And so it came as it had to?numerous crashes were the result. Maybe the black cabel covers weren always great, but even they weren responsible for the most of the crashes that happened where they weren (although the event organizers certainly learned their lessons for next year to allow for the TV coverage while limiting the risks for the skaters).

And although the streets were too wet for skaters at a few spots (hydrants that supplied the water for the refreshment stations for the thousands of runners cannot be 100% water tight), the facit seems to be that a majority of the crashes that happened between 1:15 and 1:20 could have been avoided had the skaters used their heads and not their leg power alone. Back to the race:
No team was able to gain a significant lead in the top group and thus 50 skaters raced together to the finish line on the Kurfürstendamm. But what the teams offered the spectators was almost less a final skaters sprint than a boxing fight. And thus, not without reservations, the Columbian Juan Carlos Betancur of the Saab-Salomon Team won with a time of 1:4:44.4 in front of Kalon Dobbin and Jorge Botero (both of the Rollerblade World Team). The best German was again Christoph Zschätzsch (FILA Internat.Team) of Groß-Gerau in 12th place in 1:4:45.4. The best Berliner to roll across the finish line was Thomas Langer of SCC (Rexton Team) in 68th place. And in the 40-year-old age group the winner was Lutz Ellinger (SCC-X-Speedteam). The final sprint of the women was won by Angele Vaudan of France (Roces Team) in 1:13:59.7 ahead of Silvia Nino (RollerbladeWorld Team) from Columbia and the Italian Laura Lombardo (Roces Internat. Team).

The best German woman was the new shooting star of the long racers, Michaela Neuling of RSV Blau-Weiss Gera, with 15th place. The 18-year-old rollerblader thus honorably followed the footsteps of the long-dominant Anne Titze Göhl (K2). Mike Saft

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