Long-board enthusiasts head for the hills



Marc Bence/For Metro Edmonton


Trystan Lambkin, left, and Tim Mercer peel around a corner in McKinney park yesterday in preparation for the long-board marathon starting at Hermitage Park tomorrow at 9 a.m.


Imagine hurtling down a hill at speeds of up to 50 km/hr on a piece of wood 34 inches long. Sound like fun?

For 50 long-board enthusiasts, it’s the ultimate high and on Saturday they’ll take to Edmonton streets to show how fast, and how cool, long-board racing can be.

With racers travelling from across Canada to attend and ranging in age from 12 to “pushing 50,” the participants will start at Hermitage Park on the north side of the city and race through the river valley to Victoria Park.

“We had originally planned on finishing the race at Government House Park, but because of the Dragon Boat race, we’ll be stopping a little short” of the 21.6-km finish line original chosen by organizers.

The route wasn’t exactly mapped out, said race creator Tim Mercer. “We found a run, raced it and stopped when it wasn’t fun anymore,” he said.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to organize the race,” said Mercer. “The city was really good about approving our application to race pretty quickly; it was a little more complicated getting the insurance company to agree,” he said.

But despite the rush to get the route mapped, monitors, first-aid attendants and traffic control organized, the word of the race has spread quickly enough that “there’s no doubt we’ll reach the maximum number of racers allowed,” said organizer Jeff Sanders.