Skating for scholarships

INDIAN TRAIL – Gabrielle Gorman has skated competitively for nearly a decade.

This year’s Ice Marathon will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14, in Indian Trail.

This year’s Ice Marathon will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14, in Indian Trail.

The Grace Academy junior has trained and learned all of the right techniques to help shape her into the best skater she can be. But last year, Gabrielle had a revelation: not every child who wants to learn to skate can afford it.

For two years, Gabrielle has worked as a junior coach for learn-to-skate classes for young children.

“So many kids end up enjoying it,” she said. “(But) skating is so expensive. Some kids can’t afford it, but it’s such a good outlet. They should all get the opportunity to do this.”

Gabrielle and her friend and fellow skater, Lizzie Chaconas, put their heads together to develop a plan to help local children afford to skate. Inspired by an article they read in a skating magazine about a “frozen marathon” launched to raise money for Haiti, the girls decided to organize their own event to fund scholarships for kids who can’t afford to skate.

The second annual Ice Marathon will take place Saturday, Sept. 14, at Extreme Ice, 4705 Indian Trail Fairview Road in Indian Trail. The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by free public skate time.

The Ice Marathon isn’t a literal marathon, nor is it competitive. An actual marathon would consist of 253 laps around the rink, Gabrielle said.

“Not everyone (who attends the event) has skated, and (many people) can’t do that in two hours,” she said.

What the event does offer participants, Gabrielle said, is a “fun, family time together. You can skate at whatever pace you want. You can skate for (the full) two hours or as long as you want.”

The event also will feature a raffle – Core Studio Pilates in Monroe is raffling off Pilates classes – and everyone who participates will receive a T-shirt. The cost to participate is $20.

Last year’s Ice Marathon raised more than $1,500 and allowed the girls to create the Learn to Skate Scholarship Fund, which provides money for skating sessions for families who can’t afford them. About 120 people showed up for Ice Marathon 2012, and the money raised last year provided five scholarships, Gabrielle said.

The goals for Ice Marathon 2013 are to raise at least $2,000 and to make the event bigger and better than last year. The first Ice Marathon was challenging, Gabrielle said, because she and Lizzie had to learn the ropes on how to spread the word and get people involved. Things have gone much more smoothly this year, she said.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on the weekends … meeting each Saturday,” Gabrielle said. “Pulling it all together takes a little time, but we have a better idea of what we need to do.”

Gabrielle, who wants to continue skating and possibly perform in shows like Disney on Ice and the Ice Capades, said it’s important for community members – especially students like her and Lizzie – to help those around them who are less fortunate.

“It’s important that we take responsibility in our community,” she said. “If we don’t step up, who’s going to?”

She added it’s important to continue funding the Learn to Skate Scholarship because it gives children an “outlet” to do something they enjoy.

“Obviously, it’s important to have an outlet,” Gabrielle said. “A lot of people don’t have an outlet outside of school.”

Find more information and register at the Carolinas Figure Skating Club’s website, www.carolinafsc.org.

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