About Inline Speed Skating

There are a variety of competitive and non-competitive speed skating disciplines, including both ice and inline, that are practiced by many athletes in the Northwest.  Speed skating can be a rewarding sport for both young and old, novice and expert alike.  There are plenty of local opportunities for all ages and skill levels.  If you are interested in giving it a try, please contact Team Lightning. 

Inline Speed Skating


Indoor Inline Speed Skating

Indoor inline speed skating occurs most often on a wooden floor.  The 100m track is delineated by four cones set in a slight parallelogram.  Indoor races are pack style.  The winner is not necessarily the fastest skater, but instead the one that crosses the finish line first.  Individual races consist of a short, middle, and long distance defined by the age category of the competitors.  Generally, these distances fall between 500m and 3000m, but other distances may be raced in special circumstances.  Skaters also compete in relays.  Most frequently these are composed of 2 men, 2 women, 1 man and 1 woman, 4 men, 4 women, or 2 men and 2 women per team.  Indoor speed skating is practiced predominantly in the United States.  Strategy and race style in indoor inline speed is most closely related to short track ice speed skating.  Indoor was originally raced on quad speed skates.  Inline speed skates, introduced in the early 90s, proved to be much faster than quads and eventually they became the standard equipment.

Outdoor Track Inline Speed Skating

Track skating most often occurs on a 200m or 300m banked cement track or flat cement track.  The races are pack style with the first skater across the finish line winning.  Individual 300m time trials are also run.  In this case, the skater with the fastest time wins.  Track skating is practiced all over the world.  Most international-level inline speed skating competitions occur on an outdoor track.  The distances generally fall between 500m and 3000m.  There are only a few banked inline tracks in the US so it is currently not widely practiced in the Northwest.

Road Racing

Inline road races occur at a variety of distances.  Common events range from 5k to 42k (26.2 mile marathon).  However, there are several ultra-marathon distance races 100k or greater in length.  These races are mass start.  The starts are sometimes staggered by ability to prevent crowding on the line.  Each skater is timed and the results are generally based on overall time within age groups.  Road races are exciting because they introduce an element of unknown as each course and surface is different.  Much of the skating is done in a pace line and the strength of your pack as a whole can significantly affect the finishing time of any given individual.  Road racing is common all over the world and many international-level competitions include a marathon distance race.  Road racing is often practiced by recreational skaters and competitive speed skaters alike so it is a great place for beginning speedskaters to start.  Check out the SkateNW calendar and the 'Events and Results' page for announcements of upcoming events.