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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old April 4th, 2016, 10:44 PM   #1
dinobot71
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9
Default United We Roll!

Hi everyone, I’m floating a new skate training and social networking portal (its a prototype right now). It has a strong focus on integrating events, vendors, coaches and most importantly - skaters…providing all with new abilities to help promote our sport by doing what they already do. To see it in action (and try it out), watch the tutorial videos over here:

http://rollermarathon.com/screencasts

When you are ready to actually give it a spin, just click the Sign Up button at the top, or use the navigation menu on the side to browse upcoming events or results. You don’t have to sign in to use those features. For training related stuff you’ll have to sign in (its free right now). I’m going to provide a lot more detail below, but if you prefer to just contact me, please find me on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/michael.garvin.372

or email (mgarvin@bell.net). Right now Roller Marathon is just me, but eventually it will need a team, if you are interested in being involved…let me know

The details…

Over the past few years, our sport has seen a significant decline. Even if you look at big tent events such as Northshore or Berlin, there has been a drop in participation that cannot be ignored. A friend and I (Andrew Hegarty) came up with various ideas for doing something about it with the skills and resources we have, and the upshot of that is Roller Marathon.

They key idea is to remove barriers for skaters by having a strong and active integration between events, vendors, coaches and skaters. We can’t necessarily fix things like flight, gas or hotel costs, but we can certainly do a better job of helping skaters have better access to events, equipment, and coaches (and vice versa). In particular I hope Roller Marathon can:

- Bring results to skaters instead of having to search, and search and…
- Give skaters advanced training features
- Give skaters social features to foster “Grass Roots” promotion of events, by way of training they are already doing.
- Bring skaters to events
- Bring skaters to coaches
- Bring skaters to vendors (where to get the gear!)
- Create new opportunities for the industry (events, coaches and vendors) to promote skating

At the moment Roller Marathon offers many of these features, but it is a beta application, it is a work in progress, and there is much left to do. Already though, there is enough functionality that I think its time to lift the veil of secrecy and get some eyeballs on it Just keep in mind that its not written in stone by any means and is likely to evolve a lot.

There is so much I would like to do with Roller Marathon, and the skater in me wants it all! Here are some of things that have been started already:

The results browser is (to the best of my ability) very complete but I need help in identifying old races and their results and associated branding. Many of these are gone forever, but I would like our results browser to be not just the gold standard for bringing results to skaters, but a 3rd party/independent source of data that is trusted by the community and helps people outside our community take us more seriously, because we show that we are interested in proper record keeping. If you can help me find old or rare race results, please let me know!

Having the ability to properly track results and allow skaters to claim them as their own, provides new opportunism for promotion; we have a 3rd party auditable source of results that we can build contents and promotions around, that is independent of any event or vendor; meaning we can work equally with all and help promote all, whether you are an established vendor or one lone boot maker.

With the built in ability to do advanced training tracking, goal setting and management, a training calendar and support for building up training from skills, to workouts, to training plans, all in one place and all at public or per coach levels, we have a path to enabling coaches to reach and work with skaters with fewer barriers. I hope to work with a few well known coaches to start, to bring skaters to them but also to use some basic training plans tied to both coaches and events to help do cross promotion…that helps everyone involved, including skaters

Imagine using the goals feature of Roller Marathon to complete a training plan from Eddy Metzger, track your progress through the summer, and each time you share a training log on Facebook…it doesn’t just share your mileage, it shares that you are progressing on the Eddy Training plan, to attend Northshore. Lots of cross promotion, and its good for everyone, and no one is asked to do anything they weren’t already going to do anyways. Its that kind of integrated promotion, that I believe Roller Marathon can achieve, and help promote our sport.

A further comment on goals, one of the big things that sets Roller Marathon apart (I think) it the strong focus on goal management. With support for half a dozen goal types , the skater is encouraged to keep training, whether it’s a weight loss goal, better time trail goal, or just attending an event. Goals can of course come from you coach as well! This focus on goals rather than just mileage is (I think) key to helping skaters improve, rather than feeling like training is a “job”.

Eventually I want to incorporate a subscription model that allows skaters to buy online coaching or materials from coaches, or support special offers from vendors and events, but to be clear – Roller Marathon itself is not a profit center (I’m very sure I’m not going to make money on this, and that’s not why I’m doing it!); the core goal is to bring skaters to coaches, vendors and events. It needs to be sustainable, and at some point I’ll be sorting out how do subscriptions of some kind, but it will always be priced only to be sufficient to sustain (i.e. cover hosting costs etc.).

There is much more I could talk about but let me wrap up with community. Roller Marathon is designed from the ground up to not just support social features, but to be a driver of community building. It allows any number of coaches to join and work with skaters, but also provides basic mini-site support for events, and ultimately I want it to look like a skating site, with advertising driven by skating equipment vendors. I also want Roller Marathon to be advocate for skating and encouraging new skaters; I’m hoping to add a video training trail section, for learn to skate style videos, that is more than just a few bits and pieces, but would offer a full/complete training trail (and perhaps different trails offered by different coaches).
My hope is that Roller Marathon can be a new rally point for skaters making it easier than ever to train and help promote our sport at the same time.

About me: Check Facebook The long and short of it; I've been an inline skater since 2004, worked my way up to skating competitively, and I've logged some serious mileage along the way. I love inline its an aweome sport that I want to see continue. Not everything happens on skates though, I've sponsored skaters, teams and events and once or twice tried to play peace keeper (with mixed results). I've also been a skating club president and worked with excellent volunteers to manage a skating event. If there is one thing I want to get out of 2016, its to be skating again...I've been off skate for a few years attending to real life and putting together Roller Marathon...but now, its time to skate again. Of course, it would be nice if there continue to be events to skate in!

Michael Garvin
mgarvin@bell.net

(^_^)/
Mike.
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Old April 4th, 2016, 11:06 PM   #2
AZ Roadrunner
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 277
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2 Cents:

Skaters that race are good at finding races. For those not close to a team online tutorials are easy to find for coaching, fitness and training. Equipment reviews are served well at this blog also.

What I have noticed as a big issue right now is races. Races are falling off quicker than at anytime in our sport. The cost and logistics to form a race is the biggest issue, not finding a race or training but the race it self.

Example: The NAPA,CA marathon which has moved to SF, CA. The cost for permits and such grew to $25k. At one time there were many races each month, now only a few in the entire country for the year. A 10k isn't a race, sorry but it's not worth traveling for a 20 minute race.

I have looked at doing a race here in AZ. The weather is great in the winter, but finding a venue is extremely costly and a losing venture unless you can get at least several hundred attendees, otherwise you lose your shirt promoting a race. The Tucson race was lost for this very reason, lots of money and work for a financial losing venture.

A team to help organize races across the country. Reduce costs, streamline logistics and make it worth doing is the most, and biggest thing our sport needs, not more training videos. It must be financially profitable for the promoters or it's a no go from the start.

That is what our sport needs more than anything else!
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