Lisa van der Geest, Simon Schouten win season's first natural ice skating marathon

First natural ice skating marathon of the season in Noordlaren, Groningen, 18 Jan 2017
First natural ice skating marathon of the season in Noordlaren, Groningen, 18 Jan 2017Photo: @LammyKobes / Twitter

Lisa van der Geest and Simon Schouten won the season's first skating marathon on natural ice in Noordlaren, Groningen on Wednesday, reports.

The women started at 10:00 a.m. with 80 laps on the 333 meter track. After some skirmishes in the first half hour, a strong leading group of eight skaters separated themselves. 23-year-old Van der Geest won. After 80 laps she was the leader of a group of eight who were a lap ahead of the rest of the racers. Emma Engbers got second place, and Irene Schouten - Simon Schouten's sister - took third place. 

Irene Schouten was the favorite to win the women's marathon. She is the fastest sprinter in the list of participants and the Dutc champion on artificial ice. But she made a mistake on the last corner and almost fell. Van der Geest took full advantage and snagged first place.

The men's race was 125 laps. Simon Schouten ended the strongest of the leading group of nine skaters. Robert Post settled for second place and Sjoerd den Hertog and Ingmar Berga for third and fourth. The nine leaders lapped the rest of the racers during the second half of the marathon. 

Noordlaren won the battle to host the first natural ice skating marathon at the stat of this week. Other participants were Veenoord in Drenthe, Haaksbergen in Overijssel and Arnhem in Gelderland. The battle is led by the ice skating clubs in the various cities, who work day and night with all their might to be the first to get a natural ice floor of at least 3 cm thick. This is the fourth time Noordlaren takes the honor since 2000.