Saturday was race day at Lake Louisa State Park, only this time the racers weren’t on foot — they were on longboards.
The Clermont Challenge Races, sponsored by the Ian Tilmann Foundation and Sector 9 Skateboard Company, hosted approximately 25 racers in the events. Competitors ranged in age from 10 to 50-plus and used boards longer than typical skateboards.
The slalom race was curtailed due to rain, but the 5K and 10K distance races and the freestyle dance competition went on as planned.
Marcus Acevedo, of Gainesville, came out on top in the men’s division, placing second in the 5K, first in the 10K and first (by 3 seconds) overall.
“This one was actually very challenging,” he said. “I actually ran this race last year and came in second in both. This year they changed the course. …It was awful. Awful in a good way.”
Richard Prine of Miami Beach came out on top in the junior division and was also one of the skaters who signed the foundation’s promise to wear a helmet.
“I came up for this,” Prine said. “I love coming up for the races. I had a helmet but I needed a better one.”
Ten-year-old Anton McCampbell would have won the 12-and-under division, except he was the only one in it. So he raced in the 17-and-under junior division and finished third.
“It’s fun. I like to be outdoors and I never use up my energy,” McCampbell said of his longboarding passion.
The foundation donated 29 helmets to recipients who merely had to sign a pledge stating they will wear them.
For every $20 the foundation receives, it is able to buy a helmet, said Marcy Tilmann, director of the organization.
Tilmann’s son, Ian, died in 2005 from a skateboard fall while not wearing a helmet.
“Our son was a Marine,” she said. “He was a good marine. And he died from a skateboard. Over 100 skateboarders a year die because they don’t wear helmets.”