Fargo Marathon Weekend 2017

Well, Fargo Marathon weekend is over, and like always, there was a lot of excitement in the Grand Forks running community surrounding this annual event. Running is the common thread we all share, and the friendships that have developed through the years were once again on full display as we gathered. We came to race and we came to watch each other race, and the day was filled with smiles, laughs, hugs, tears and celebrations.

Sue and I traveled to Fargo on Friday to pick up our packets and for Sue to run in the 5K, the first half of her “Go Far Challenge.” While I waited for Sue to complete her 5K, I got to watch Camron Roehl win the race in a blazing 14:58. Fargo claims Camron as their own since he now attends North Dakota State, but I know better. I’ve followed this amazing young man’s career since his days at Grand Forks Central, when he was a classmate of my son Carl.

Sue and I returned to Fargo early Saturday morning for our main events: I was running the half marathon and Sue was running her first ever 10K. As we entered the Fargodome, we met up with our Red River Runner friends who were already energizing the building! I greeted many of them individually over the next hour as we got ourselves ready to roll. Many were hoping for personal records. Two were returning from lengthy maternity absences. A few were returning from an injury like I was. One had a great shot at qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Some were running their first half marathon. All were excited for what the next few hours held in store. The cool, dry, cloudy morning was ideal for running, and if the rain held off, there could be a lot of new PRs!

Well, the rain did hold off, and old PRs fell like snow during a North Dakota blizzard. As I ran into many of these same people after their races, I was delighted to hear that everyone was satisfied with their performance and many had achieved new PRs.

Sue completed her first 10K, and earned the “Go Far Challenge” medal for completing 2 races in two days. She surprised herself with a time faster than she had predicted and enjoyed the race much more than she expected. I’m sure there are more 10Ks in Sue’s future!

I finished my half marathon in 1 hour 44 minutes and 57 seconds. I’m getting stronger each week after battling through an injury early in the year, and this race marks the best I’ve felt so far in 2017. Things are looking up!

The most celebrated news of the day was that my friend Jessica completed the Fargo Marathon in 3 hours, 40 minutes and 27 seconds; a time that qualifies her to run in the 2018 Boston Marathon. Jessica has shared many tough miles with me through the years and it makes me so happy that such a fine runner and friend has finally Boston qualified! She’s deserved this for a long time! Oh, by the way, our friend and trainer Martin ran the entire race by her side, offering encouragement along the way. You may remember Martin helping me the same way in 2012, when I finally ran a marathon in under 4 hours.

Anyway, friends helping friends is what makes Red River Runners such a great group of people. If you saw any of us in Fargo this weekend, you got a chance to see first-hand what I’m talking about!