Iceman Attracts Huge Crowd
Prince George, B.C. – The 2016 edition of the Prince George Iceman turned out to be an abbreviated competition with the cancellation of the 5 km skate at the Outdoor Ice Oval.
The culprit, the mild weather which made it impossible to maintain the ice surface at the oval despite the round-the-clock efforts of the ice-making crew. As a result, just as above-average temperatures here caused the speed skating events at the 2015 Canada Winter Games to be moved to Fort St. John, the weather forced organizers to scrap the official 5km skate portion of the 29th annual Iceman competition.
Some of the competitors did have the option of donning hockey skates to skate on the half of the oval that was solid enough, but were told doing that would not be counted in their overall time. Hockey skates were required because speed skating blades were not suitable for making the turns required on the skateable portion of the ice.
In any event, the Iceman, with 533 adults registered, kicked off at 10 am Sunday. There were 83 adult teams, 35 solo competitors (18 males, 17 females), 30 junior teams including 22 school teams and two special Olympic teams from Prince George. And the size of the crowd was phenomenal as they boisterously cheered on not only those close to them but everyone who was out competing.
The athletes skied two 4km laps at the Otway Nordic Centre followed by a 10 km run to the ice oval, then another 5 km run through the Pinewood subdivision and finally an 800 metre swim at the Aquatic Centre.
The Iceman competition was followed by the awards banquet at the Civic Centre.