23 Feb 2015

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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)

Skate the Lake 2015

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