Speedskating Action in C-U: 3 Things to Know About Short Track Competition
The Land of Lincoln Short Track Championships are next weekend, and we're getting very excited for some winter sports action! On February 22-23, racers from all parts of the country will travel to Champaign-Urbana to compete. Among the competitors are our area's own Champaign Regional Speedskating team! The racers are all between 4-64 years old, making for a wide variety of competitors and races. This year, the final race of the Heartland Racing Series will also be included with the fastest racers in the Midwest.
If you're not sure what speedskating is, or the history of ice sports in our area, let's go over 5 things you might want to know about short track competition!
Short Track Speedskating: 3 things to know
We have a lot of skating enthusiasts and competitors in our part of the country, and even specifically in C-U. Here's some fun facts about speedskating in Champaign-Urbana.
Speedskating Practice is a major undertaking
Speedskaters of all ages practice each Wednesday at the UIUC Ice Arena just north of the UIUC Armory from September – March. The sport at its most competitive levels can be very core intensive.
For those with troublesome joints and ongoing struggles in the knees or arms, speedskating offers large muscle motions without joint impact, making it great for fitness. Plus, you can improve your fine motor control in the ankles and break the droll of the gym and winter during these chilly months. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is! That being said, it's rewarding for all involved. Whether it is to stay in shape or challenge your personal fitness, speedskating is an incredible physical activity to undertake!
Speedskating is beginner friendly
For the 1st three practices, you can attend for FREE to give the sport a try at the UIUC Ice Arena. Skates and helmets are mandatory, so if you own a pair of skates or a helmet, be sure to bring it along. The group does have its own gear to share if you don't, but be sure at the very least to wear proper attire, including tights/sweats, long-sleeved clothing, gloves, and long socks. With ages 6-58 on the ice currently, this is a welcoming group ready to work with anyone who is interested.
Practicing and competing at the UIUC ice arena is pretty outside of ordinary
In fact, did you know the UIUC ice arena is the largest indoor ice sheet in the U.S.A. Due to its size being 30 ft wider than NHL Hockey rinks it remains one of only a few rinks in the entire U.S.A. capable of hosting Junior, National, and International level short track speed skating meets. The very first World Short Track Speed Skating Championships were actually held here in 1976.
interested in speedskating? Come check out the competition!
If you're curious about what competitive speedskating looks like in person, why not come by to check out the event for yourself! The Land of Lincoln Short Track Championships are next weekend on February 22nd from 1-6pm, and the 23rd from 8-12noon.
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