Marathon race events were originally created to commemorate a Greek messenger named Pheidippides. Legend has it that when he was sent from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to deliver a message about the defeat of the Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., he ran the entire distance without making any stops, made the announcement and then collapsed and died right on the spot. There are other versions of this tale that include a runner named Philippides or a Greek soldier called Phidippides (not Pheidippides), but they all tell a similar story about the creation of marathon races. Marathons were originally designed to be running or walking races. Running marathons were among the original Olympic events in 1896, even though the race distance was not standardized until 1921. Today, some of the on-foot marathon events include bicycles or inline skating, and many have been designed for inline skaters only.
The marathon trend can be seen all over the inline skating world. Marathons have appeared and are planned in locations all over the world with thousands of inline skating participants. These races are usually held on outdoor road circuits through cities, scenic terrain, farmland or a combination of areas that have clean, safe, paved roads running through them. One interesting thing about marathons is that although they attract many competitive and professional speed skaters, the majority of marathon participants are just regular recreational and fitness skaters.
Much like inline speed skating, inline marathon racing is a fun and challenging low impact aerobic activity and roller sport. Inline marathons are extremely competitive international events that are usually conducted using 26 mile distance races. Some events offer half-marathons to accommodate newer and younger skaters, too. In either case, skating a marathon race is a lot easier than running a whole or half marathon with proper training. Marathon participants can represent a team or sign up as an individual. These participants usually set aside some time for extra training to build stamina in preparation for a marathon. There are many excellent training programs designed to help athletes prepare to skate marathons.
People choose inline marathon skating as their sport for many of the same reasons that they choose speed:
- Marathon skating is fun
- Marathon skaters want to achieve fitness goals
- Racing has international and local social benefits
- Medals can be won and records can be broken
- There are many opportunities to travel
- Marathon skating can be a family activity
- Marathon skating is an on-going challenge
- Marathons also satisfy a skater's need for speed
Marathon Skates and Gear
In this inline sport the athletes wear high-tech inline speed skates with durable outdoor wheels and aerodynamically designed skin suits which are both designed to facilitate long distance speed. Safety helmets are always worn and gloves are added for these road competitions. Equipment and gear from the established inline racing suppliers can be expensive, but new entry level skates or carefully selected used equipment is affordable and marathon sportswear and gear is available from many skinsuit manufacturers.
You should build your inline skating basics first, then enjoy North American marathons, International events and fundraising charity races. There are also many local race festivals and hometown marathon skating opportunities – just visit an inline racing club to find them.
- Recreational inline skating includes a variety of activities that are suitable for skaters of all ages and many skating levels.
- Inline fitness skating is more goal-oriented skating to achieve medical, mental or physical benefits.
- Street and road skating are organized group events on public thoroughfares and smooth paved roads.
- Speed skating and inline racing are recognized as competitive disciplines around the world.
- Marathon skating events are taking place on every continent.
- Freestyle slalom skating lets you dance and spin around cones.
- Dryland skating or inline figure skating is very similar to ice figure skating.
- Inline hockey skating is a popular year-round sport at amateur, scholastic, and professional levels.
- Inline roller soccer is a unique version of regular soccer.
- Roller cricket athletes play all batting, bowling and fielding positions on roller skates.
- Roll ball is becoming a popular school sport.
- Inline basketball is an easy roller sport to develop.
- Aggressive and stunt skating includes jumps, grinds, slides and flips.
- Urban inline skating is a great activity for young or young-at-heart thrill-seekers.
- Skate cross is an aggressive ramp and obstacle course race on inline or quad skates.
- Off road and all terrain skating combines mountain biking and skiing with inline skating.
- Nordic inline skating is also called cross-skating or Nordic blading.
- Kite skating is an extreme inline-based roller sport.
- Wind skating or skate sailing is a wind powered inline sport.
- Downhill racing is similar to the Alpine downhill ski racing.
You can also get a quick overview of many inline skating sports. If you are not sure that your interests will be dedicated to any one of these specific skating styles, start by building a good foundation in recreational or fitness activities and training. Good basic skills will take you in any direction that you want to roll. If you do not find an inline roller sport that is just right for you, then take a look at the quad skating sports opportunities.