Sponsor: Northgate Industries
The Silver Skate Festival invites you to skate the 1 km, 5km, 10km and/or 1 hour Skate Races on the 5-hectare lake at Hawrelak Park.
These races are among our festival's signature events and have their roots in the Europe - especially in the Netherlands, where long-distance speed skating is popular. Skaters use frozen lakes, canals, rivers, and ovals (both indoor and outdoor), and compete in races ranging from 10km to 200km.
The Silver Skate Festival with host partner the Edmonton Speed Skating Association presented the Skating Races.
Marathon speed skating has its roots in Europe, where this type of long distance speed skating is especially popular in the Netherlands. Skaters use frozen lakes, canals, rivers and 400m ovals, both indoor and outdoor.
In Europe there is an active professional circuit with races in the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Austria. The distance for marathon skate races range from 10km to 200km, depending on the venue and event. The most famous of these is the Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour), which is 200km through 11 cities of Friesland in the Netherlands. Since it rarely freezes in the Netherlands, most of the skating is done on outdoor refrigerated ovals. The 5km ice road in Biddinghuizen (the Netherlands) is the longest artificial ice road in the world and hosts many marathon skating events. The races and tours on the Weissensee lake in Austria are very popular, featuring signature 200km events as well as the Dutch championships.
In Canada and the USA the group Marathon Skating International (Facebook Group) supports marathon skating working with Speed Skating Canada and US Speed Skating to create the rules for marathon skating. Venues include St. Foix, Quebec (400m oval), Joliette, Quebec(river), Lake Placid New York (400m oval), Halifax(400m oval), Ft. St. John (400m indoor oval), Lake Morey Vermont, Calgary Olympic Oval (400m) Sylvan Lake Alberta, Hawrelak Park, Edmonton Alberta (lake), Portland Ontario (lake) and Ottawa Ontario(400m oval).
Internationally the future of marathon speed skating is bright with 15-lap and 20-lap mass-start races now being contested on the ISU Long Track World Cup circuit.
All types of skates are allowed in these races.