This was the second year of the marathon, three-day race across the Silver Comet Trail and the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama. Skateboarders were competing against one another to finish the 188-mile combined route with the fastest times each day, and also trying for the best combined time.
Organizers and race sponsors set up a finish line in the Seaborn Jones Park in downtown Rockmart, marking 37.68 miles by skateboard from Smyrna. First to arrive was Paul Kent, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Kent was the winner of the first leg of last year’s event as well, completing the more than 37 miles from Smyrna to Rockmart with at time of 2:27:15. He beat his time this year by about 8 seconds.
Taylor Martin, of Lawrenceville, was close behind Kent in second place. Rounding out the top five Friday were Sasha Popper, third, Andre Hippix, fourth and Leunan “Leo” Segura, fifth.
New Yorker Jeff Vyain, who finished second place last year, came in sixth Friday after being hampered by injuries from a fall on the route.
“I’ve hurt my ankle,” Vyain said. He said he was hopeful he would be able to continue the race, but as of Friday afternoon it was a “wait and see” proposition.
The first leg of the race to Rockmart is easier than the second and third days. Day 3 is “10 to 13 hours for people … maybe more,” skater Marion Karr advised other skaters on Facebook prior to the event.
Most skaters carried backpacks with hydration packs, equipped with mouth tubes, that allowed them to remain hydrated while they skated.
“Feed your body and your body will not bonk on you.
The Rockmart Business Alliance and The City of Rockmart co-sponsored a reception for racers at The Depot at Richardson Field, located adjacent to the recreation trail across from Seaborn Jones Park. Skaters were provided water, bananas, fruit snacks and sandwiches.
Redmond Regional Medical Center and the City of Rockmart teamed up to provide supper for the athletes. The city also provided a shuttle service from the park to local motels, and were also transporting the skaters back to the starting line Saturday for the ride through Cedartown.
The second day of the race was to head through Cedartown, ending in Weaver, Ala.
The third day is the longest stretch, as skaters make the return trip from Alabama back to Smyrna in one day.
Designed on the same platform as a bicycle stage race like the Tour de France of Tour de Georgia riders will be racing both daily and for the overall best time.
The race doubled in size its second year, with 54 registerd compared to last year’s 27. The charitable event draws skateboarders from across the country.
Organizers said 30 percent of all proceeds and entry fees go to www.charitywater.org to support initiatives to provide clean water to people around the world.
Sponsors include Woody's Halfpipe Board Shop in Norcross, and Skanunu Bearing Cleaner and Lube.