NEWPORT — A hearty and determined group of speedskaters descended on Newport last weekend to compete in the North American Marathon Speedskating Championships sanctioned by US Speedskating.
The inaugural event drew skaters who ranged in ages from 15 to 77-years-old, traveling from as far away as Berkeley, California, Edmonton, Alberta, various cities and towns in Ontario, Montreal, Quebec City, The Eastern Townships, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.
On Saturday the temperatures stayed below zero with winds of 10 to 15 mph. Sunday, temperatures warmed up a bit and the wind speeds were less daunting.
Novices and youth raced in the 1km and 5km events on Saturday morning with the 25km race held Saturday afternoon. The 50km race was held on Sunday.
Jake Maarse of North Gower, Ontario, took first place in the 25km event.
Tom Keane of Cambridge, Massachusetts barely got by Maarse in the 50km event on Sunday.
Guylane Larouche of Orford, Quebec finished first among the women in the 25km, while Catherine Kwiecien and Rosie Chong, both of Waterloo, Ontario, finished first and second among the women in the 50km race on Sunday.
John Pope of Berkeley, California, Willem Langenberg of Edmonton, Alberta, and John Ambrose of Mallorytown, Ontario, all competed in the 70 plus year old division of the 25km event.
For a few skaters this was their very first speedskating event, including 15-year-old Parker Franz, of Essex Junction, Amanda Levitt of Albany, New York, and Itzy Sontag, of Brooklyn, New York.
Newport City and the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Utilities provided critical support to help create and maintain the 750 meter speedskating oval.Are you on Instagram? Cool. So are we. CLICK HERE to follow us for a behind the scenes look at Newport Dispatch.