A Message from Gaétan Rochette
3 March, 2015, Quebec City- I am very grateful to Catherine Kwiecien and Rosie Chong for organizing a party for me in Lake Placid on Saturday, February 28 . This homage was a great moment in my “sport life”. The words “thank you” are not enough to express my gratitude to you all.
On May 16, 2004, 13 people came from different places in North America and met in Montreal to found Marathon Skating International. This association helps preserve our ice marathon sport. It provided the first-ever electronic timing system for ice marathons and a web site, which increased interest among skaters. That was the start of this great adventure. I believe in MSI and I will continue to be involved as long as I am able.
Gaétan Rochette Honored at “Skate the Lake”
24 January, 2015, Portland, Ontario- The organization that brings speedskating to the community of Rideau Lakes in Portland, Ontario, is all about volunteers. Since 2006, Portland Outdoors honors one or more individuals with a special award. The award, named after International Big Rideau Lake Speed Skating Marathon founder Marco Smits, is given every year by Marco to Skate the Lake (STL) participants or volunteers whose efforts made for a memorable event.
This year’s award went to MSI director and long-time official timer, Gaétan Rochette. Gaétan has been affiliated with STL since its inception, providing electronic timing over the years.
This year marks Gaétan’s official retirement from timing MSI events. When he stepped out of the timing booth on Big Rideau Lake at the conclusion of the day’s races, it would be his last time performing such services in Portland (his final timing duties were the following weekend at the North American Marathon in Newport, Vermont). Next year you won’t see Gaetan in the timing booth at STL. Instead, it will be his turn to wear a timing chip as he skates the lake.
(There's more to timing a race than monitoring a computer. Gaétan arrives at each race course on the day before to install timing system wires at the start/finish line. After using an electric saw to cut grooves into the ice, Gaétan buries the wire using water and snow to create a smooth surface. Above, Gaétan prepares for the Champlain Islands Ice Marathon in Vermont, February, 2013, in the midst of a snowstorm. Photo by Neal Hundt)
Congratulations to Gaétan and to all of the hard-working and dedicated people in the Portland area that produce the annual winter celebration known as “Skate the Lake”. Merci beaucoup, Gaétan! We look forward to skating with you next year!
Summary of Skate the Lake (click image, below, for the story from Portland Outdoors)
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