The first long-distance skating race over natural ice this winter took place on Sunday night as the outdoor rink outside the village of Haaksbergen in Overijssel province was declared ‘perfect’.
Dutch towns always compete to stage the first outdoor events when the temperature dips below freezing. Haaksbergen, which converts an asphalt-covered inline skate track into an ice rink, has won for three years in a row, says NOS tv.
The marathons were won by brother and sister Elma and Bob de Vries. Elma de Vries had already come second in the national allround championship on artificial ice at Heerenveen earlier in the day.
And weather forecasters say the prospects are good for more skating outdoors in the run-up to New Year. In parts of Friesland, people have already begun skating on ditches and small canals. But the Dutch skating association warns that the ice layer is most places is still to thin.
Skate shop owners report brisk sales, even before the first ice layer was formed. ‘It was a madhouse here on Saturday,’ Roelof Emck of wholesalers Schreuders Sport in Leerdam told the NRC. ‘We are open all day with 35 people working but customers had to wait up to two hours. One customer with five shops bought 1,750 pairs of skates.’
The weather forecast for the next few days is for continued frost at night, with the temperature dropping to as much as -8 Celsius on Tuesday night.
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