WAITE PARK, Minn. — A race of this caliber brought all the skaters to Waite Park's backyard, way before the sunrise.
Friday morning, just a few minutes before 5 a.m., a bunch of athletes gathered at the beginning of the Wobegon Trail, ready for the longest skateboarding three-day marathon.
"We love to skateboard and we also do it in an endurance fashion, and you know, have a challenge," Andrew Andres said. Andres is a seasoned skater, who is making a skate-cation out of the race. He said he flew in from Miami Beach, FL.
For a challenge like the Skate Central Lakes Endurance festival, now in its third year (technically second, because last year's race was canceled because of COVID), you almost have to be crepuscular; there's no time to waste.
"This is a tough challenge to go out and spend three days out on a trail, skating over 200 miles," Andres said. "Very encouraging with one another, even though there are some guys who are competing to try to win it, very friendly [and] helpful."
With just a little over 100 miles on the first day, skaters, longboarders and rollerskaters glide through the Wobegon trail. The small town charm they will get to encounter is a sweet treat on their breezy path.
"You're going slower than a car, slower than a bike, but you're going a little bit faster than a runner," Andres explained. "It's like that perfect pace to be able to soak everything in as you're going down the trail."
That's exactly what the race's creator intended. Wobegon trail was so impressive to Calleigh Little, that she couldn't resist.
"I came on this trail just by chance, and when I got to the end in St. Cloud, I needed to get all my friends out here so I did," Little said. "And I got everybody to come out, come skate it, and that was the first year."
And though the task is no casual feat, everyone's in a good mood.
"Feeling good! this is the first 25 miles, and this is where everybody is just working their kinks out!" one of the skaters said at the first rest stop at 25 miles.
Some even shared their endurance strategy.
"I just lie to myself constantly about like how it's just around the bend and how I'll stop very soon, anything to distract yourself," another said. "You think about your childhood, I think about food a lot."
Why would anyone would do this? It's simple. It's the community. The friendships.
"It's mostly pride that they end up with because 106 miles is not an easy feat," Little said.
Day two of the intense race will take the skaters 62 miles from Fergus Falls to West Union. The last day will be an out and back, 35 mile sprint in St. Cloud.