Satisfying end to 24-hour speedskating marathon

Art Goelema admits to being physically and emotionally exhausted after organizing and competing in a 24-hour speedskating marathon

Fred Van Den Linde

Fred Van Den Linde

Art Goelema admits to being physically and emotionally exhausted after organizing and competing in a 24-hour speedskating marathon held in Sylvan Lake last the weekend.

“But it’s a very satisfying tired,” he said, Tuesday. “It’s awesome. We made history. And skating through the night, that was awesome.”

The marathon included 17 skaters divided into three teams. During the  marathon, which began at 2 p.m. Sunday and ended at 2 p.m. Monday, the skaters covered 606 kilometers. Teams skated for an hour, then took two hours off, then skated again until the marathon was completed.

Goelema, who has participated in five marathons, said this one was the toughest.”

“Your body gets so tired. You just want sleep,” he said.

However, he said skating through the night was an incredible experience and he didn’t feel the cold.

“You don’t want it to end. Your body doesn’t get cold when you skate.”

The marathon, which raised more than $10,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation would not have been possible without the help of volunteers, said Goelema.

“We had a huge amount of volunteers and they deserve a special thank you. And we also had many sponsors who gave of their equipment and food. I can’t say enough about all the people who helped us make this a success and helped us make history.”

Goelema is also grateful to the Foothills Marathon Association and the Town of Sylvan Lake for their support.

The annual Foothills Speedskating Marathon will begin Friday. Feb. 22 to 24 will be busy in Sylvan Lake with aces and tours going on throughout the weekend.

New this year is the Kortebaan, a 160 metre sprint, which will take place at noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday.