Up North: Mejia wins back-to-back NorthShore Inline Marathons

Up North: Mejia wins back-to-back NorthShore Inline Marathons

The NorthShore inline Marathon returned to Duluth for its 26th year and a familiar face crossed the finish line first.

The NorthShore inline marathon returned to Duluth over the weekend for its 26th year, the rain however on Saturday morning didn’t stop the racers one bit.

Columbia born, now Rhode Island skater Jose Mejia won the race once more, making it back-to-back championships.

“This year was really different because the rain changed all of the race,” said Mejia.  

“The problem with the rain is that you cannot really use power. So most of the best skaters, you know, they train really hard so they are more powerful. So the rain is kind of the great equalizer,” added team member Francisco Ramirez.

Mejia narrowly prevailed this year out reaching the second place finisher Wesley Gandy by .34 of a second. Finishing with an overall time of one hour, seven minutes, 36.71 seconds.

“I’m really happy because the race was really, really fast because I have a really good team with my teammates. They all push me really hard the whole race,” Mejia stated.

The first female finishers was Karin Gabriel of, Switzerland with a time of 1:17.31.75. With 17 year old Lauren O’Donnell from Florida, finishing just 12 seconds after.

“I came here because I love the course since it’s an A-to-B route. I love this place. I hope to come back next year again and bring some more people from Europe with me,” said Gabriel.

“After we had gone down the hill and we made the turn, I fell right out. So I got up and finished right behind Karen,” stated O’Donnell.

Overall the marathon was a big success, once again living up to the reputation of the nation’s largest event.

“It’s so cool to see these skaters come back. It’s like a family reunion and I’m recognizing a lot of faces as well. It’s just a pleasure to be a part of this organization and bring this to Duluth.”

“The people come from all over the world and for the hospitality industry and tourism. It’s just an honor to represent the marathon,” concluded Marathon Executive Director Skeeter Moore.