Speedskating is alive and kicking in Tartu (Estonia). (And, by the way in it's neighbouring country Latvia). Nestling in the north east corner of Europe, Tartu is the second biggest city in Estonia. Tallinn, Estonia's capital, being the only bigger city. The marathon here has been running for 10 years, and has grown in it's numbers, and in it's quality of skater. This year's edition was won by Marten Liiv in a time of 1:11.27 and was the 3rd fastest of all time. (Photo: Ardo Säks)
The race is very well organised an professionally managed, as you can see in the picture here; roads closed to cars, start and finish inflatables, and official escort motorbikes. There was 1089 speedskaters in total; 618 of them in the 42km distances, 302 in the half marathon and 169 for the 10km for skate.
(Picture: Ainars in 4th place in the lead pack of the Tartu Half Marathon)
(https://www.tartumaraton.ee/et/uudised/2016/08/21/ in Estonian).
Sk8skool had two skaters in this event; Ainars from Latvia and Nik from Estonia. Unfortunately Nik became sick with a fever only two days before the race. He decided to start anyway, but after 28km in 37 degrees heat, he decided that "seeing circles" in front of his eyes was not a good sign, so he sensibly stopped skating. He will rest and re-focus now on the next big race... Berlin Marathon.
Ainars on the other had a great day, he started the Half Marathon after coming home from Sk8Camp last week, where he improved his paceline/pack skills and top speed. Last year he skated 58:40, and then he joined Sk8skool ONline to get personal coaching in October and we began working on technique, functional stability, goal-setting and motivation. He set a goal time for this years race of 54 minutes or less. His result this year was 44:27 and he was also battling for the podium, which was a big surprise for him.
Despite not being able to skate all winter (because there is snow, dark, cold, wet in Latvia and Estonia all winter) we worked with Ainars developing his base, strength and foundation, and this year he skated 15 MINUTES faster than last year on a half marathon! He (and we) are very pleased with this development, again proving that ONline coaching can be very effective.
Tartu Marathon looks like a great race, and is very tempting to visit next year.
Let's go faster