NorthShore Blog

2019 Wave Placement Guide

Read below for everything you need to know about NorthShore Inline Marathon waves, what wave you should be in, Elite versus Advanced versus Recreational waves, and our handy Wave Placement Guide!

NorthShore Inline Marathon Waves:

  • Elite: The Elite race is technically a separate race with a different registration ticket option, different wave structure and different awards. If you are a professional or elite athlete, this is your wave! Scroll down for more info on Elite waves.
  • Advanced: We categorize the Advanced waves as skaters who want to compete, who are looking for a fast time, who are vying for a spot atop the podium, and who want to work together in a paceline.
  • Recreation: We see Recreation wave skaters as those who aren’t as attuned to their finish time, who may not want to skate in a paceline, and who are less concerned with the competitive nature of our Elite and Advanced waves. This is a more relaxed tour of northern Minnesota’s Lake Superior… take in the sights and sounds of the North Shore!
Marathon Wave Placement Guide
Wave Estimated finish time
Advanced Wave 1 1:12:00-1:18:00
Wave 2 1:19:00-1:24:00
Wave 3 1:25:00-1:30:00
Recreation Wave 1 1:31:00-1:45:00
Wave 2 1:46:00-1:59:00
Wave 3 2:00:00-3:30:00

How do you figure out your estimated finish time, especially if you’ve never skated 26.2 miles? That is a bit tricky. Consider race day adrenaline and the fact that our course is totally closed… no traffic to deal with, no traffic lights, stop signs, etc… It is smooth sailing from start to finish. Also, many skaters will form a paceline (think: Tour de France) to use aerodynamics to their advantage. Skating in a group like this can cut serious time off your marathon.

We generally recommend calculating your average speed or pace during your most recent and longest skate and extrapolate that out to the marathon distance to get a rough estimation of your finish time.

Half Marathon Skate:

  • One wave only! All half marathon skaters will start at the same time, a mass start, at 6:45am. We strongly recommend to self-seed at the line: faster skaters up front and slower skaters in back.

Elite Marathon Waves: (Elite waves are based on age on race day)

  • Elite Open (There are no age limitations in Elite Open Men or Women.)
  • Elite Masters Men 30-39
  • Elite Masters Men 40-49
  • Elite Masters Men 50-59
  • Elite Masters Men 60+
  • Elite Women Open (There are no age limitations in Elite Open Men or Women.)
  • Elite Masters Women 40+ will start with Open Women, results will be separated at the finish line.

Why do we have waves for our race? With thousands of skaters taking off within a matter of minutes, over the years we have found that splitting skaters into groups based on ability and speed is better for the safety of our event and the enjoyment of YOU, the athlete!

If you sign up for a wave and will be a little bit outside of the time recommendations, it’s OK! We come up with our wave placement guide based on average times from previous years. If you are drastically outside of the time recommendations, or just want to start in a different wave, you can submit a wave change for $15 fee here:, under the Wave/Race Change ticket option.

What wave did I sign up for? We’ll send out confirmation emails with all of your info (shirt size, wave, etc…) near the end of August!