GMSA’s 2018 Loppet Speedskating Recap

The following recap and photos were assembled by Dorthy Bialke of the Greater Minnesota Speedskating Association.  I had nothing to do with the report, which explains why it has compete sentences and proper grammar.  Photos by Jeff Terwilliger, Mary Bos, and Brian Wray, links to their full galleries are at the bottom.


The 2018 Loppet Winter Sports Festival speed skating events were held on January 27 and 28. This year the event was moved to January to accommodate the Super Bowl and included expanded race options. The move to January created a conflict for the local junior skaters and some master skaters who were out of town racing. However, with the addition of a 5K and 10K race we saw new racers participate.

The ice conditions were outstanding thanks to Mark, the Ice Guy, and Mother Nature. Late December and early January brought a deep freeze without snow which was the perfect condition for ice creation on Lake Calhoun.  This allowed Mark plenty of time to get the 1K speed skating oval in shape for skating events. Even the 9-­inch snowfall, which was well received for the skiing, skijoring, and snow shoeing events, did not sour the grooming of the track. On Thursday the track was plowed and on Friday Mark did the final shave before the Saturday events.

Saturday: 25K Marathon

Twelve racers were at the start at 10:30 am on Saturday for the 25K race. This was a dual race for the US Long Distance Championship and the Loppet 25K Speed Skating Marathon. The field included ten men and two women. Skating for the first time in the Loppet was Steven Hartman who finished in 46:04. Coming in second was Erik Wardenaar with a time of 53:04, over three minutes faster than last year.  Rounding out the top three was Bruce Anderson.  Carolyn Cone came in first for the women with a finishing time of 1:11:49, eleven minutes faster than last year, followed by Dorothy Bialke.

Saturday: 10K

With the goal of expanding the participation of different levels of skaters we offered for the first time a 10K race. The participant break down was three women and three men, three youth, and three adults.  Emily Bos came in first for the women followed by Molly Leifeld and Shawna Hedlund.  For the men, Milan Jostes came in first followed by Ben Weber and Gerit de Looze.

Saturday: 5k

The 5K race was added to get skaters on any type of skate out on the ice participating in the weekend festival and skating on natural lake ice. Thirteen skaters were at the start, seven youth and six adults.The youth represented Midway Speedskating club and for many of them this was the longest race they have ever competed in. The top three youth-men were Adam Groven, Max Weber, and Ezra Campbell. The two youth-women were Teagan Wetteland, first and Ella Cagle second.  The adults ranging in age from 19 to 71 had a mix of abilities and skates including long blades, hockey, and figure skates. The finishers for the women were Anna Bialke, Debra Weber, and Jana Hedlund. For the men Thomas Jaax was followed by Tim Scott and Andrew Grout.

Saturday: 1K

There were three 1K races, two official and one for fun. The first official race was for skaters in short blades. This year we had a brother sister pair at the line with older sister Ellyn Engels finishing ahead of John Engels.For the 1K long blade the competition was fierce as the top finishers were Max Weber (not pictured), Ezra Campbell, and Adam Groven for the men and Teagan Wetteland, Lauren Li, and Ella Cagle for the women.

Sunday: 50K Marathon

After a fresh shave the ice was in slightly better condition on Sunday morning for the start of the 50K. This race included nine participants, eight men and one woman.Once the race got underway Steven Hartman demonstrated his strength and endurance by taking the lead. The crowd wondered if he could hold on until the end as we could see the hands on the thighs showing the fatigue from the 25K. Steven did finish on top with a time of 1:46:55. Erik Wardenaar came in second with a time of 1:49:44. Coming in third with a time of 1:52:53, 30 minutes faster than in 2017, was Bruce Anderson. Way to go!

Looking forward to 2019

Next year the Loppet Winter Sports Festival will move back to its normal weekend, the first weekend of February. With this change we are looking forward to some great competitions. Here is just a taste of what you will see or be a part of. In the 50K we are looking forward to seeing the 2017 champion Kelin Dunfee (1:41:19) head to head with Steven Hartman (1:46:55) and see who comes out on top. For the women we hope to see Melissa Dahlmann back to claim her title that she earned in 2017. For the 25K we expect Isaac Harker (25K champion for both 2016 and 2017) to be on the ice. The question is will he, at 18 years of age, be that much stronger and faster in order to reclaim his title from Steven Hartman? For the women we are expecting to see Ilsa Shobe, Malanie Pankow, and Marion Wohlrab back in town and skating. Who will come in on top as they all finished within 1 minute of each other? Or will there be a new skater who powerhouses through and takes the top prize?

Thank you to Mary Bos, Jeff Terwilliger and Brian Wray for taking photos of the weekend and generously sharing them with us. They are all free to download and use for your personal needs. Please give credit to the photographer if you do post them. Mary’s photos Brian’s photos