Family Laces Up for NorthShore Inline Marathon

Posted at: 09/14/2013 4:26 PM | Updated at: 09/14/2013 6:11 PM
By: Travis Dill

Over 3,000 inline skaters swarmed Scenic Highway 61 from Two Harbors to Duluth on Saturday, but one family of racers calls the finish line their second home.

The youngest members of the Akana family don't compete yet, but their mother, Roni Akana, said all 12 children are a part of Team X.

“It's what we do. We eat and we sleep and we skate. We live, laugh and skate I always say,” Roni Akana said. “They train every day. They train really hard, and they compete in as many marathons as we can get to.”

She said the family even has a practice track back home in Couderay, Wisconsin.

This year's NorthShore Inline Marathon was the first full-marathon for the 9-year-old Akana twins, Zakayla and Xalia. The twins were modest about how they maintain their endurance for the 26 mile race.

“We just kep skating until we pass the finish line,” Xalia said.

Roni said being a mom means watching them race can be tense, but she takes pride in seeing them cross the finish line.

“It's exciting for me. I love it. It's great. I worry the whole time they might fall or something might happen, but I love seeing them come across,” Roni Akana said.

The twins' older sister Zephaneah usually skates in the professional division, but this year she rolled behind the twins to keep a watchful eye.

“Oh it's awesome. I love skating with and helping them. I probably enjoy helping them more than they enjoy me helping,” Zephaneah Akana said.

The sport is growing, and Roni hopes it can become an Olympic sport like speed skating on ice.

“Most people don't know what it is. They think it's just rollerblading on the sidewalk, which inline speed skating is a huge thing internationally,” Roni Akana said.

The Akanas plan on traveling across the country to raise the profile of inline skating. They'll just keep putting one skate in front of the other.

Roni Akanas said the older siblings have been clocked at over 60 mph going downhill, and that shows why the top racers need so much training.

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