Justin time: Louisiana racer wins inline marathon
Teammates Justin Stelly of Kaplan, La., and Briana Kramer of Orlando, Fla., avoided the fate of falling on wet pavement Saturday morning and claimed the elite championships in the 15th NorthShore Inline Marathon.
Stelly, 23, was first overall in a starting field of 2,365 and edged defending champion Julian Rivera of Colombia in a photo finish in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 1.6 seconds for 26.2 miles from Two Harbors to Harbor Drive. Rivera, 24, was a 10th of a second behind in 1:10:01.7 after Stelly's left skate hit the finish line first along the William A. Irvin ore boat. Stelly won $1,000 from a prize money purse of $10,400 in the National Roller Cup Series race. Both skate for Team Bont, a manufacturer of ice and inline skates.
Juan Tobon of Colombia was at the head of the lead pack going around the final turn at the DECC, but fell after slipping on a wet painted white line on the roadway and finished 28 seconds back in 15th place.
Kramer, 19, saw teammate Sophie Webb fall as the course turned from I35 onto Fifth Avenue West, and then saw leader Zephaneau Akana slow to avoid a large puddle behind the DECC. Kramer went to the inside of the road to take the lead and held on to win in 1:27:32.5, just ahead of Chelsea Creveling in 1:27:32.9.
Stelly and Kramer are American hopefuls in speed skating for the 2014 Winter Olympics and are training in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Former Minnesota Duluth pole vaulter Tim Johnson of Bloomington, Minn., led 271 in the accompanying seventh half-marathon in 43:52. Tammy Colbeth of Chanhassen, Minn., was the women's winner in 52:59.
There were a combined 3,000 entrants in the two races.