The return of Winter Marble League in 2020-21 sees the return of speed skating. The format of this event is a bit unusual, but exciting nonetheless: Each run sees two marbles race around the elongated track, though not in a head-to-head matchup. Instead, all that matters in their time, which determines final positioning after only a single heat for each participant.
Momomomo (Team Momo) and Wuspy (Midnight Wisps) get the event off to a thrilling start, as the two marbles exchange the lead several times over the course of only a few laps. Their times set a strong pace for the rest of the field to compete against in the ensuing seven runs.
It is not until the fourth run that any racer can compete with Momomomo’s time, when Ocean (Oceanics) and Minty Fresh (Minty Maniacs) look like the class of the Marble League. Finishing with a 29.94 and a 30.24, respectively, both manage to break the existing record for this event. The only question becomes whether their record will hold up for another four heats…
Though it is not until the final run that another marble is able to match even Momomomo’s time from the first race: Thunder (Thunderbolts) and Ducky (Green Ducks) begin their heat pressing for a podium, but by the final couple laps Thunder pulls away and sets themself apart from the crowd. Ducky also sees a respectable finish, but Thunder’s time of 29.46s nearly shaves a full half-second off the record that was established only a few races prior. Congratulations to Thunder, Ocean, and Minty Fresh on their medals!
- The Oceanics take over the top spot in the standings with their second place finish here, and the Thunderbolts jump from sixth to second. Rough go of it for the Hazers, who drop from first to third despite a respectable showing.
- Misty’s (Hazers) record from a couple years ago is broken four times here. Not long after Ocean sets the new mark, Misty gets their chance at earning it back; they run a solid race at the start and are not far off the pace needed, but perhaps pressing too hard to re-earn the record they falter in the final laps.
- The teams near the bottom of the standings aren’t doing anything to help themselves: the Chocolatiers, Snowballs, and Balls of Chaos all finish in the bottom five of this event once again.
- Presentation notes: Strange format for this event, just like it was the first time they ran it. Personally I’d rather see this run as a single-elimination tournament, but that would extend the length of the event considerably. Still, this one is exciting enough (and times are disparate enough between runs) that I think a tournament is warranted. Put another way: No individual run saw the two competitors finish more than a second apart from one another (and most saw them finish within only a few tenths of a second), but the difference between first and last in the event at large was over four seconds.
Roldo appears at the 1:48 mark, near the bottom right of the screen. Is he sanctioned by Marble League officials to be that close to the track!?