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World champ to compete in Saturday's NorthShore Inline Marathon

The elite men's wave leaves the starting area of the NorthShore Inline Marathon near Two Harbors in September 2012. (Clint Austin /

Though Scott Arlidge has officially "retired" from inline skating, he says he's more involved with the sport than ever.

Instead of skating full time, the 30-year-old Auckland, New Zealand, native now works for one of the world's leading inline skate companies, a move that keeps him busy year-round.

Arlidge will be back on skates this weekend, however, as the eight-time World Championship medalist and former World Cup winner takes part in the 18th annual NorthShore Inline Marathon from Two Harbors to Duluth on Saturday morning.

"Yes, I've officially retired, but I still enjoy racing," Arlidge said by email earlier this week from his home in Bayreuth, Germany. "I am for sure not at the same level that I was two to three years ago. It isn't possible to train and work full time and go against the best in the world. But I will keep skating in some way until I'm 90 years old."

Arlidge is the race division manager for Powerslide, a German company that sells inline skate products and accessories. He is involved in sales and marketing and, as he says, "Everything from A to Z with inline racing."

"We are the leading company in the race world, and part of that is thanks to our racing team," wrote Arlidge, who planned to arrive in Duluth on Thursday. "We have a complete structure with a junior development team, too. I do coach some skaters, but for the moment that is a side job for me."

Arlidge often goes to events to test new Powerslide products, but Saturday he will be racing down the North Shore alongside German teammate Felix Rijhnen -- a top-10 finisher at last month's Inline Speed Skating World Championships marathon in Belgium. Rijhnen, who was second in the points race at worlds, is one of the favorites.

"Like always, it's hard to predict what is going to happen in an event," Arlidge wrote. "The goal is always to win (and) we will try our best to do that. I know the course there is super fast, but often the race tactics will decide how fast the race is. Felix is in pretty good shape and will be the guy to beat and watch."

Also entered in the competition, which doubles as the U.S. Marathon Championships, is 2010 NorthShore winner Justin Skelly of Kaplan, La.

* Two members of the Powerslide team also are competing in the women's field: former junior world champion Katharina Rumpus, who was fifth in her senior debut, and European champion Laethisia Schimek. Both are Germans.

Three-time defending champion Briana Kramer is not attending as she trains for a potential Olympic speed skating berth.

* The elite marathon begins at 9:30 a.m., preceded by an inline half marathon, a running half marathon and a 10-kilometer race and followed by a roller-ski marathon. Approximately 2,200 are entered in the various events, including 1,500 for the elite race.

* An expo runs from noon-10 p.m. today at Pioneer Hall, where race packets may be picked up. A pasta dinner takes place at Grandma's Sports Garden from 3-9, Powerslide skate clinics go on from 3-7 at Pioneer Hall and kids sprints begin at 5 p.m. on Harbor Drive.