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Fitness Skating and Training Forum Discussions about on-skate and off-skate training, hydration, sports nutrition, weight loss, injuries, sports medicine, and other topics related to training and physical fitness for skaters.

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Old August 6th, 2013, 06:30 PM   #1
theDonnybrook
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Default What interests you about skating events?

I am trying to figure out what can be done to increase interest in inline skating as a sport. Derby has seen an interesting resurgence lately, but I don't think what has been popular about derby, mainly the culture, will work for inline skating. With all that in mind, I have a couple of questions to start a dialogue:

As fitness oriented skaters, what makes people favor skating over running or cycling?
What interests you about events, like local 10k or half marathon events?
Does the regular rec/fitness skater want to skate a marathon distance?
If so, more than once per year? Do you think the sport is missing something?
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Old August 6th, 2013, 08:54 PM   #2
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I am trying to figure out what can be done to increase interest in inline skating as a sport. Derby has seen an interesting resurgence lately, but I don't think what has been popular about derby, mainly the culture, will work for inline skating. With all that in mind, I have a couple of questions to start a dialogue:

As fitness oriented skaters, what makes people favor skating over running or cycling?
What interests you about events, like local 10k or half marathon events?
Does the regular rec/fitness skater want to skate a marathon distance?
If so, more than once per year? Do you think the sport is missing something?
I enjoy running events WAY more than skating events. I just ran a 10K with my daughters and I have a half marathon coming up. Running events are a great way to test your fitness and have fun.

I love to speed skate (more than run) but skating can be perceived as catering to the elite skin suited crowd...just the opposite of a running event.
You reap what you sow. We have had this discussion for years on this forum and I have always said...elite skaters have killed their own sport with arrogance.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 09:05 PM   #3
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I love to speed skate (more than run) but skating can be perceived as catering to the elite skin suited crowd...just the opposite of a running event.
Is it because pro skaters are involved, or because "faster" skaters wear skin suits?

Disney used to sell the Disney World Marathon to the regular Joe skater. Does that make a difference in marketing? Or are we too far gone as a sport (fitness/rec/speed roller skating in general) to be able to get people interested in skating events? How is skating a half marathon different than running a 5K from the perspective of the event?
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Old August 7th, 2013, 05:14 AM   #4
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Thinking back to the days when i was getting started, the draw for me as a rec skater at that time, was a very strong desire to see if i could actually skate 26 miles. To me, that was such a major accomplishment, and the desire fueled me for about a year of skating. Then, after a marathon or two, i remember wanting to learn to skate better so that i could finish somewhere ahead of the mass of stragglers, and to do so without feeling like i was on death's doorstep most of the race (becuase that is exactly how i felt).
After a few of these, it was solely the competitive drive that kept me participating. I loved to skate and train as a skater, but i can't really say that i loved the racing. I think i did the races mostly becuase it gave meaning to all the training i was doing all year long, and it gave me a sense of how i was doing. Also, it just seemed pointless to do all this training without culminating in events.
So, as a rec skater, what interested me in the events was the personal challenge to skate the distance - to finish. So, to further the sport at this level, i think what is needed are safe venues to hold the events. Meaning, safe routes free of dangerous hills, vehicle crossings, etc., and having some actual events to go to which don't involve an airport. I can tell you that ALL events in my area have dried up and gone away years ago. This was due to the required permits, rising cost to insure an event, road closures, lack of interested organizers, lack of interest in general, declining number of skaters, lack of event sponsors, etc.
It really is not very easy to put together a viable skate marathon these days. That is the sad truth, and the i think a downward spiral occurred with less skaters to support less events, which attracted less new skaters, which resulted in even more events going under... and so on.
Skating is a bit of an odd sport. I have the feeling that it is viewed as even a bit more so since there are so many fewer people doing it.
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Old August 8th, 2013, 07:30 PM   #5
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I can't stand to run. Neither can my knees and shins(splints).

Rec skating got old. Neither address upper body.

Enter my bowl skate routine. Never a dull moment, what with the 12' deep bowl drops and the 540 spin exits. Fly up to the top of the bowl, (12' high jump) and land in pushup formation, and bust out 10 sets of 25. Upper body solved. Do a few pullups on the fence with all my equipment (12+pounds worth) and upper body demolished! Every day turns into leg day, AND cardio day! Alternate the pushup/pullup days and you have a full body aerobic/anaerobic workout routine. HIIT's daily, and the abs work themselves out during the normal course of the routine.

The adrenaline rush and pure fun factor keeps me going back for moar!

I definitely recommend it for anyone who loves to skate.
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Old August 8th, 2013, 07:53 PM   #6
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I stopped a skater on the trail yesterday and asked if she would be interested in a local 10k. She didn't give me a resounding no, but said she wouldn't necessarily be interested. After some further discussion, she told me that hills were a concern. That is good to know. This is also supported by OI said.

We need to get people back into the sport, regardless of whether it is fitness, speed, aggro, freestyle. It just seems like 10k events are the way to go because they are small, and you can get people interested. Especially if they are paired with bigger events.

So far, we need to sell it to the masses, not the skin-suited weenies, and make sure we have a course with no hills.

What else would bring you to or drive you away from an event?
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Old August 8th, 2013, 08:50 PM   #7
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Having just completed my 4th Chicago Inline 1/2 Marathon recently, and having done all four on Quads, it was sad to see how far fewer of the inliner skaters present this year.
There seems to be a slow but steady drop in the numbers of inline skaters attending races.

On a positive note though, there were close to double the numbers of quad skaters than in any of my four races, for both the 1/2 and full marathons.
Other than me, all quad skaters appeared to be derby skaters, and despite their skates not rolling very well on the somewhat rough asphalt of the course, they all seemed serious about their skating and dedicated to to finishing their distances.

One thing I notice about the inline skaters is that there seems to be two distinct groups at opposite ends of the pace spectrum. The serious & fast inline speed skaters and the casual less fast rec/fitness inline skaters, mostly on heavy rec skates.

What distinguished these two groups would mainly appear to be that the speed skaters train and use better skates with bigger wheels, and the less fast rec skaters just skate for fun and fitness (not real training though).

It seems to me that with the high registration fees for these kinds of races, steadily fewer of the less serious skaters are willing to plunk down that much money for an hour or two of skating that isn't much different than what they do on their normal asphalt path exercise sessions.

So this begs the question, how can the race be made more appealing for the less fast skaters, who, being fewer in numbers, often end up skating most of the race alone on the course, which is rather boring and not much fun.

This also applies to me, who at just under 60 min. 1/2 marathon pace on quads, always seems to have no one else near me to skate with on the course.

Somehow, if these races are going to build back up some bigger numbers of participants, I think that there need to be some changes made that specifically make them more appealing for the non-elite, slower pace inline rec skaters and attract more derby quad skaters. The T-shirt and goodie bag of items just isn't enough, compared to how much the race costs and how long it lasts.

1) Having race be run on ONLY the smoothest quality of asphalt would be a big plus for those skaters with less rough road capable skate gear, like derby quad skaters and smaller wheel rec inline skaters

2) Having some acknowledgment of quad skaters as a separate skating group, even if it is only a medal for the fastest quad male & female finishers at each distance (no age groups).

3) changing the names of races to not sound so exclusively "Inline" might attract more derby skaters

4) In addition to the cash prizes by finishing times & age. gender groups, awarding some other things as bonus prizes for just participating is appealing to everyone.
In past years at Chicago Inline Marathon, random selections of race numbers were done to give out some donated sponsor products.

In closing, it seems to me that, unless something is done to broaden the appeal of these races to a attract wider spectrum of skaters and to better justify the current high registration fees for the more ordinary kinds of skaters, then races are going to just shrink down to just being mostly attended by only that group of the fastest/faster, more hardcore, serious inline skaters, who actually train on a regular basis.

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Old August 8th, 2013, 11:22 PM   #8
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In closing, it seems to me that, unless something is done to broaden the appeal of these races to a attract wider spectrum of skaters and to better justify the current high registration fees for the more ordinary kinds of skaters, then races are going to just shrink down to just being mostly attended by only that group of the fastest/faster, more hardcore, serious inline skaters, who actually train on a regular basis.

So, racing inlines is becoming obsolete, and they are faster and obviously in your thinking more fun than racing quads, why race quads?

Why race if it's not on the fastest most efficient device available for the job, why waste the energy trying to go the fastest on a slower vehicle?
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Old August 9th, 2013, 02:51 AM   #9
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I probably fall in the serious skater crowd, but I have a few ideas:

1. Cost and travel. This is what has prevented me from participating since getting back into the sport. It would be nice to take a few days off, go somewhere, etc., but as a grad student I just can't swing it.

2. Distance. The popular local running races, from what I have seen, are 5k events. That seems very doable. Back in the 90s, there were plenty of 10k skating events in the Cincinnati area. Now, I don't really ever see anything shorter than half marathons, and marathons seem more popular. That might be daunting to your weekend warriors. It took a while for other people to convince me to make the move outdoors when I was skating all the time indoors, and distance was a part of that.

3. Pack skating. When beginners do go to races, they aren't used to skating in packs. It can be scary to have all those feet around you when you aren't used to that. Being told you aren't following pack etiquette, or getting a cold shoulder because you did something wrong without know it, can also be frustrating. If there are multiple people around, they will try to form a pack, which may feel like an invasion of personal space to runners who just want to be near someone, but not that near. If you try to skate alone we get to ...

4. The gap. With running races, you expect to have some runners off the front, but clumps of people finish within sight of each other. No one feels like they are getting completely blown out. In skating, you get packs, and there are usually huge gaps between them. I once skated a 5k that was tacked on to an art festival. I think I was about 12, and I also think that the race organizers didn't know that speed skating was a thing. I won easily. The next year, three of the four senior men from my team skated the race. They won even more easily over me. I don't think they held that race again. It was just too discouraging for the non-speed skaters, and there weren't enough speed skaters to make it a real event. The rec divisions in the bigger races address this to a point, but you need enough participation to make it worthwhile.

5. Maybe injury? Fear of falling at speed may play a factor, especially for those not used to packs.

6. Equipment probably plays a role. If someone showed up on rec or hockey skates, they would probably feel like they didn't belong, and those are the skates some people likely have. I was once at a race that tried to get around this by having a 10k race and a 5k rec race. To skate the 5k, you had to have 4 wheels (this is when 5 wheels were the thing). Someone tried to protest having my mom in the rec division because she had "real" speed skates - 4x76 - and didn't belong. No one complained about my skating quads despite the fact that I was still faster than my mom.

7. Advertising. Around the turn of the century, the only reason my family found races is because we had gone to them the year before and knew to be on the lookout.
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Old August 9th, 2013, 05:21 AM   #10
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a couple of posters noted how the marathon distance may be a little scary for some rec skaters. Most inline marathons i know of hold a half marathon concurrently. Problem solved. And a half marathon sounds like something you could be proud of, while a 5k or 10 K just doesn't mean anything to the masses in this country.
I don't think the fear of pack skating scares off many rec skaters, since most rec skaters aren't familiar with it.
The point about steep entry costrs be a definite roadblock is a real one. That's why most marathons i know have a reduced rate for rec divisions. Having a tee shirt to show off afterwards would also help get the word out for next year, and give a rec skater something to commemorate their accomplishment.
Frankly, i think the presence of some skinsuited speedskaters at these events makes many, if not most, rec skaters a little proud of their sport.
Some may disagree, but that is not what i;ve seen anyway.
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Old August 9th, 2013, 06:00 AM   #11
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So, racing inlines is becoming obsolete, and they are faster and obviously in your thinking more fun than racing quads, why race quads?

Why race if it's not on the fastest most efficient device available for the job, why waste the energy trying to go the fastest on a slower vehicle?
I would skate inlines if the scars on both my ankles could tolerate them without getting shredded bloody there by the chafing of the inline boots after about 20 min.

You see, I was critically burned in an accident, at age 5, on both my legs and my left arm. 3rd degree burn scars make for a very no non-resilient performing kind of skin, and any any level cyclic friction type of rubbing applied on the scar surface quickly damages its integrity.

Consequently, I can only skate in boots that are very low-cut or very loose above the ankle bone loose. Thus I do the best I can with the skates that my ankles can tolerate - quads.

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Old August 9th, 2013, 12:25 PM   #12
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One thing I notice about the inline skaters is that there seems to be two distinct groups at opposite ends of the pace spectrum. The serious & fast inline speed skaters and the casual less fast rec/fitness inline skaters, mostly on heavy rec skates...

It seems to me that with the high registration fees for these kinds of races, steadily fewer of the less serious skaters are willing to plunk down that much money for an hour or two of skating that isn't much different than what they do on their normal asphalt path exercise sessions.
Armadillo, you may have hit the nail on the head with this one. I went to the London Inline Marathon last year because my wife and I happened to be across the pond when the race was scheduled. The course is just under a mile long loop at a Cycling club that uses it for their crit races. The surface was decent, but because the course was short, with reasonably good tarmac, you pretty much could always find someone to skate with and rarely had to skate in no-man's land. They also had what they called a quad challenge, where the winner skated the highest number of laps in 90 minutes, and only quads could participate.

While that solves some of the problems you pointed out, I think the other problem with this kind of course is the fact that it is a bit mind numbing. Like the Roller-Dome marathon in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the race becomes a grind. I don't know if rec skaters would necessarily be interested in that, either.

Food for thought, and I appreciate the input. More to consider...
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Old August 9th, 2013, 06:15 PM   #13
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I would skate inlines if the scars on both my ankles could tolerate them without getting shredded bloody there by the chafing of the inline boots after about 20 min.

You see, I was critically burned in an accident, at age 5, on both my legs and my left arm. 3rd degree burn scars make for a very no non-resilient performing kind of skin, and any any level cyclic friction type of rubbing applied on the scar surface quickly damages its integrity.

Consequently, I can only skate in boots that are very low-cut or very loose above the ankle bone loose. Thus I do the best I can with the skates that my ankles can tolerate - quads.

-Armadillo
Man that sucks bro. Owww...
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Old August 10th, 2013, 04:06 AM   #14
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I am trying to figure out what can be done to increase interest in inline skating as a sport.
Since this is the goal, maybe the we should focus on more than just the events. If we could raise the profile of the sport, it might attract new people organically. There is a popularity problem, and it seems to start young. There were five heats of novice freshman boys at IDN. There weren't heats for classic men. I don't know if it has always been that extreme, but is seems like there has been a trend for a lot of skaters to quit sometime between those two age groups. Maybe we should come up with ideas for retention, and the greater popularity will help draw more interest.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 02:07 AM   #15
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Put jumps and ramps randomly throughout the course. That'll attract some attention!
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Old August 13th, 2013, 07:39 PM   #16
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Put jumps and ramps randomly throughout the course. That'll attract some attention!
But not many participants.

I don't think there is anything seriously wrong with the way skating races are done, at least relative to other sports. The people who compete are always a minority. How many people race bicycles vs just ride them? How many run vs run marathons? The problem is not that too few recreational skaters are becoming racers. The problem is that too many recreational skaters are becoming former skaters.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 08:55 PM   #17
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The problem is that too many recreational skaters are becoming former skaters.
So what is the solution to this problem?
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Old August 14th, 2013, 04:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
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The problem is that too many recreational skaters are becoming former skaters.
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So what is the solution to this problem?
it would help to know what is causing the problem before anyone could guess at how to solve it.
there just seems to be a lot more competition for slightly adventurous outdoor youth oriented sports nowadays. BMX biking, snowboarding, cyclocross, mountainbiking, trail running, the list goes on and on... Most of these didn't exist before. Roller skating seems pretty tame by comparison. Really, it's a whole lot simpler to grab a skateboard and go than to figure out how to get into a pair of inlines and make them work.
How to solve this? People make choices that are right for them, and the chips just fall where they may. Good luck trying to change the tide of popular appeal, and you have to wonder if the wisdom of even trying, imo.
Honestly, about the only thing i can think of to help the sport is a) develop a simple braking system whihc will allow more would-be skaters to feel like they weren't on the verge of getting killed, and b) promote more safe places to skate by expanding bike paths and making them more skater friendly (no wild downhills, no speed bumps, good sight lines, minimize street/drieway crossings, etc.), and c) get more outdoor banked tracks (not likely at all in the US).
Interestingly, they do teach inline skating when my son was in elementary school, just a couple of years ago. Can't say that many stick with it, though.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 08:51 PM   #19
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Skatecross is gaining traction, especially in France:




Video:
https://vimeo.com/69464248#
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 11:28 PM   #20
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inline speed is just too gentlemanly. we need big crashes, explosions and fistfights to draw people. Nobody wants to work as hard as we do for such little attention. Maybe Duluth should add some random bands of zombies.
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