On August 14, 2018, NorthShore Inline Marathon (NSIM) Executive Director Skeeter Moore and Race Director Mike Ward met with the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) staff and City of Duluth officials to discuss a major construction concern that impacts the 2018 NorthShore Inline Marathon and NorthShore Run on September 15, 2018. Due to ongoing construction on the Minnesota Slip and adjoining seawall, the the finish line would have to be altered for the 23rd Annual NorthShore Inline Marathon. The decision was made to move the finish line approximately 900 feet (0.17 miles) back along the course, where all athletes will now finish on the bay side of the DECC. A major concern was not only the ongoing construction on the final 500 feet of the historic NSIM course, but the condition of the road after months of heavy machinery and work. Upon inspection, NSIM, DECC staff, and City of Duluth engineers agreed that the gaping holes, rough pavement, and slabs of concrete that have been separated would pose a serious safety risk to skaters finishing the race.
For more information on the seawall repair project, click below for news articles:
Below are a list of modifications to various NSIM weekend activities that will take place given the temporary 2018 replacement of the NSIM finish line. Parking and transportation will remain the same as always. The most convenient parking is at the DECC parking garage ($5 parking fee). Information to guide decisions was gathered by NSIM Executive Director Skeeter Moore, Race Director Mike Ward, and the NSIM Board of Directors. Decisions were then made based on our priorities, in order of importance: athlete safety, logistics, and athlete satisfaction. The final changes outlined in this announcement were voted on and unanimously agreed upon by the NSIM Board of Directors on August 23, 2018.
The 2018 finish line for all NSIM races will be on the bay side of the DECC on Harbor Drive. This is directly adjacent to the DECC 10-minute parking lot outside of the Symphony Hall and DECC Arena entrance, approximately 900 feet (0.17 miles) back along the NSIM course from the historic finish line next to the William A. Irvin Ship Museum. There is ample roadway to decelerate after the finish line, and athletes will enter into the DECC through Door 6 to receive their finisher medal, athlete food, drop bags, visit expo vendors, and access the finish line to mingle and watch other athletes finish the race.
The Expo area, which features vendor and race sponsor booths, will be moved from the DECC North Pioneer Hall to the DECC Arena. DECC Arena is much closer to the altered finish line and allows for an easier flow from the NSIM finish line to athlete food, drop bags, and spectator access to the finish line.
There are no other course changes for the full marathon. The existing start line will remain in place for all marathon-distance races (Marathon, Elite Marathon, and Rollerski Marathon). Due to the altering of the finish line, the NSIM full marathon course will be shortened to 26.0 miles in which any course records will be void for 2018. (See next paragraph for more information on Marathon start line decisions). The Half Marathon (Skate and Run) will remain 13.1 miles by moving the start line back by approximately 900 feet. The Tunnel 10k Run will remain 6.2 miles by moving the start line back by approximately 900 feet.
NSIM Staff and Board of Directors discussed at length all possible options to maintain the course length of 26.2 miles, including moving the start line back. Unfortunately, there are train tracks approximately 500 feet back from the NSIM full marathon start line. Therefore, if we moved the start line back, skaters and skiers would have to pass over an active railway 500 feet into the race. In conversation with the railway governing body, CN Railroad, under no circumstances can they completely ensure that no trains would cross that track during the NSIM full marathon start sequences. Our first priority is athlete safety, and the NSIM Board of Directors made the decision that moving the NSIM start line back by approximately 900 feet across an active railway would be a threat to athlete safety.
Any and all other options were taken into strong consideration. The NSIM Board of Directors contemplated several places along the course to add mileage. There were a few options that could potentially work, but the short timeline, the coordination of governing bodies including, but not limited to Minnesota Department of Transportation, City of Duluth Police, Saint Louis County and Lake County, Warning Lites Traffic Control, and the potential safety concern of sharp turns and rough pavement voided each course modification idea.
The NorthShore Inline Marathon Board of Directors, Executive Director Skeeter Moore, and Race Director Mike Ward feel it important to communicate the collective decision making process involved in making these difficult changes to the event that we all love. Decisions were made based on our priorities, in order of importance: athlete safety, logistics, and athlete satisfaction.