Tom Hyser is a 42-year-old former professional aggressive inline skater from Roswell, Georgia near Atlanta. Tom ran skatepile.com, an online skate shop, from 1999-2008. Since then he has been working for Rollerblade handling all kinds of things from maintaining their social media to communicating with athletes and helping develop new skates. For the past three years Rollerblade has also been hosting the Rollerblade 10K Challenge Events which Tom has been heavily involved with. With each event they have seen an increase in participants.
What is your skating history? What is your current position in the industry?
I started skating when I was 15. I was super into skateboarding, when I was 14 my parents moved to Wisconsin for a job. The neighbor kids had Rollerblade skates and they played hockey on inline skates in the summer. I wanted to play ice hockey that winter, so the neighbor kids hyped me on getting some Rollerblade® skates for my birthday in July. I got the skates and immediately started to use them like how I rode my skateboard.
I moved back to Roswell after a year and started to hang out with my old skateboard buddies but now I would bring my board and skates to each session. Eventually I fully switched over to skates. Andy Kruse and I found out about the NISS contest qualifiers in California the summer of 1994. We made the pro tour, turned pro and started to get paid to skate. My first skate sponsor was Rollerblade while working at a local shop before I turned pro.
Who came up with the concept of the Rollerblade 10K Challenge?
My co-worker Sämi Raimann from Switzerland came up with the idea. We’re a small group of people that run the company. We had all been discussing that people needed a shorter event then a marathon, to come see if they liked inline skating. Sämi is great at coming up with event ideas and it was his idea to start doing the 10k Challenges.
What is the premise of the event? And what is the end goal?
The 10k Challenge is a fun social event that is targeted at beginners to get them into skating longer distances. Some more advanced skaters will test themselves to skate as fast as they can to set a new personal record. We always make sure it’s done on a skate path where you can turn around at the 5K point. That way the slower people can see the others going by and hype each other. The goal is to grow the sport of inline skating.
What was your favorite 10K Challenge?
Definitely the last Atlanta Rollerblade 10K Challenge was my favorite. Afterwards, I had music blasting out of the Rollerblade demo van. It was really rad when some of the skaters started to break dance. Afterwards we all went and had lunch together. New friends and good times, I really enjoy meeting new people and seeing how happy everyone is at the end. Kacie Cleveland hosted a really cool 10K event in Seattle, WA that turned out really good too. I’d like to go do one there again soon.
Are there any upcoming 10K events in 2018?
The next one is in Miami on May 19th at Brian Piccolo Park, with Rollerblade Ambassador Doris Casabona. Doris loves to skate, this one should be super fun. There is also one in Milan Italy on May 27th. Check out the Rollerblade 10K Challenge page on Facebook for the latest info. Also be sure to check out rollerblade.com> Experience > Events for all kinds of cool events going on.
If someone wants to include a Rollerblade 10K Challenge in their event, what do they need to do to make it happen?
Contact us on rollerblade.com and shoot us a message.
What is your preferred setup for skating a 10k?
I like to skate on Rollerblade Endurace 125’s or 110’s. It depends on what I want to do at that particular event. Honestly I switch it up a lot. At the last 10k Challenge I skated Twister Edge 110 3WD skates. We had skated a Friday night skate the night before and that set up is ideal for cruising the streets of Atlanta.
Outside of these events, how far do you skate on your average skates when going out on the trail or streets?
Sometimes it’s just a cruise or urban skate. Most of the time I go out and rip on my Endurace 125 skates. This time of year I start to train for the North Shore Inline Marathon, which is on September 15th. I build up my distance over 4 months. Normally it’s between 10 miles and 26 miles. I vary my speed depending on the training goal that day. Some days I’m just putting down miles, other days I’m going as hard as I can.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever skated?
Nothing too crazy, the most I’ve ever skated is 40 miles.
Check out many more videos of Rollerblade 10K Challenges from all over the world here.