(The lead pack of skaters in the inaugural marathons held on Lake Memphremagog in March, 2014. The City of Newport, Vermont, is in the background. Photo by Phil White of Kingdom Games, one of the sponsors of endurance sporting events in the area of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom.)
As it did earlier in 2014, Kingdom Games will build and maintain a 700-meter oval track on Lake Memphremagog in front of The Eastside Restaurant & Pub at the southern end of the lake in Newport. Lake Memphremagog in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, just south of the Canadian border.
The location for North American Marathon was the scene of the 1983 Alternative Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour), a 200-kilometer (120-mile) endurance race. One participant of that 1983 event was Pierre Gagne of Quebec City, who, in his 80's, still skates in MSI marathon events.
More recently, Lake Memphremagog was the scene of the return of speedskating after a nearly 30-year absence. To see a photo montage of the successful 21- and 42-km marathons of March, 2014, click here. Since the races were such a success Kingdom Games recently purchased a plow truck and equipment to help flood the ice, in anticipation of this winter’s work to clear and maintain a 700 meter speedskating oval.
Marathons Named for Local Resident
The ice marathons are dedicated to Hutch Jenness, a beloved husband, father, physician, and good friend to many in the Newport community. Hutch loved endurance athletics and was often seen sculling on Lake Memphremagog, a lake he loved. He caught the passion for long-distance skating when Dutch speed skating enthusiasts came to Newport in 1983. In 1985 he was out on the lake alone, training for the Elfstedentocht, the famous eleven cities race in The Netherlands, when he fell through the ice and drowned near Georgeville. It is a bittersweet moment for Kingdom Games to name this two-day event The Hutch Jenness Memphremagog Speed Skating Marathon.
The Great Skate
A 25 Mile International Skate between
Newport, VT &
2 Feb 2015
Kingdom Games and MSI hope to offer a 25 mile international skate the length of the lake on Monday, February 2, 2015, the day after the North American Marathon.
This international skate is extremely dependent on exceptional weather and ice conditions. We won't know what kind of trail we can clear and how long it will be until shortly before the event. Toward the end of January we hope to predict how weather and ice conditions may evolve.
Phil White invites all those participating in the weekend events to keep Monday free.
Registration and payment ($50) for the Great Skate are accepted right up to the morning of the skate.
On February 2, 2014, Kingdom Games was able to plow the length of the lake (photo, above: Canadian black ice, looking south towards Owl's Head). Twenty adventurous skaters took on the challenge, and 10 completed the distance; others were ferried by our snow mobile support and the plow truck. This remarkable event will be offered again in 2015 if conditions permit.
Details for the North American Marathon
Location: The oval is located on the south end of the lake in Newport, VT. Newport is located off highway Interstate-91. There are convenient highway
connections to Montreal and Quebec just north of the border.
Registration, check-in, and changing areas will be at the East Side Restaurant & Pub, 47 Landing Street, Newport, VT (Google map). The oval is 75 yards from the deck of the restaurant. Spectators can take advantage of the restaurant's hospitality and facilities before, during, and after the events.
Saturday, January31, 2015
10:30 AM- 5 km *
11:30 AM- 1 km *
1 PM - 25 km North American (Half) Marathon
* For safety reasons, “elite” skaters may not enter the 1- or 5-km races. These are entry-level events not intended for experienced speed or marathon
Sunday, February 1, 2015
9:30 AM - 50 km North American Marathon
- Use your MSI login to register, or
create a free account with MSI when you register.
- For children that wish to skate the 1km or 5km races: Parents or guardians can register their children using the parent or guardian’s email address; more than one child can be registered and assigned to the same email address.
NEW Fees & Payment Policy:
Kingdom Games requires payment in advance using their PayPal site. The PayPal link is provided during online registration and in each registrant's email confirmaton.
On-site payment for the marathons will incur an addtional $25 fee, as on-site payment and registration create delays and problems with timing system transponder assignment, paperwork, currency, etc. On-site registraton will close one hour prior to each marathon.
Fees- The new fee schedule is as follows:
- 1km, 5km, or both- Free!
- 25 km North American (Half) Marathon- $45
- 50 km North American Marathon- $55
Register for both the 25 and 50km races and pay $90, a $10 savings.
- Great Skate to Magog: $50 CANCELLED
If an event is cancelled due to weather or poor ice conditions, registration fees are refundable up to 50% of fees paid.
Lodging: Visit the Kingdom Games' lodging webpage for listings.
Skates: Speedskates, Nordic skates, and hockey skates are permitted; figure skates are not allowed. Newcomers to marathon skating may want to consider using Nordic skates (a XC ski boot and clip-on blade), which are more forgiving on rough ice than speedskates.
For more information, contact the event director, Phil White, phw1948 at gmail dot com.
Acknowledgements: Last year there was considerable local support to create the oval . Thanks to Danny St. Onge (who supplied an amazingly powerful tractor and snowblower, below, left and center), Dan Gauvin, Tim Patenaude, and Darrick Granai (photo below, right) who cleared snow to create last year's skating oval. Special thanks for the support of Newport Live, Newport Parks and Recreation Department, Pam Ladds, Ancelary Group, and Newport City Renaissance Corp. Gaetan Rochette of MSI provided electronic timing in the inaugeral marathons in March, 2014. Finally, praise and recognition goes to Phil White, creator of Kingdom Games and organizer of this event. Marathon Skating International and US Speedskating are fortunate to be affiliated with such dedicated people.