Fargo Marathon, North Dakota
Number of Runners: 18
Weather: 55 degrees, overcast
Conditions today were absolutely perfect for running. I was greeted at the start by a very enthusiasticgroup outside the Fargodome. They had a lighted billboard welcoming me to Fargo, and I could tell right away it was going to be a lively run.
There were several first time marathoners, including an eighteen year old, and one 52 year old runner who was running his first marathon since 1980! One runner had driven down from Canada, another had worked all night and come to the starting line with no sleep. There were a couple of local running groups represented in the group, including: “Women High on Running.” We started off on our way and the banter began almost immediately. It was a fun way to ease into marathon #11.
Just after the five mile mark, we heard some loud cheering and up the road was a large group of school kids waiting for us to come through. They yelled and high-fived as we passed, and kept the cheering going until we disappeared well down the road.
The spirit in Fargo today was just terrific, and there were people along the course cheering and providing support almost the entire way. I know I’ve gone on and on about the stories I’m hearing out here, but it’s been the most heartwarming and inspirational experience I’ve ever had. Today was no exception, and I heard about overcoming illness, overcoming obesity, overcoming addiction, and overcoming fear.
The course was a mixture of residential streets and wide footpaths. We paralleled, and eventually crossed, the northern-flowing Red River which borders North Dakota and Minnesota. It was a scenic and flat course, so I was able to talk with the other runners much of the way while keeping up a steady pace.
When we reached the final stretch, they had opened the Fargodome to allow us to finish at the actual finish line inside the dome. There was a group assembled inside awaiting our arrival, and we covered the last hundred feet to the congratulatory cheers and hoots of the crowd.
To me, each finish festival has been become so memorable. I’ve met hundreds (maybe even thousands now) of great people, and I get to spend some time with the other runners taking pictures, signing books and t-shirts, and exchanging stories. This is the one area where the extensive training program Carmichael Training Systems put me through is yielding big results. Running the marathon is one challenge, but meeting with the press, doing interviews, talking, taking pictures, meeting kids and signing posters, is another marathon in its own right. I’ve been able to complete these marathons with enough energy reserve to thoroughly enjoy hanging around the finish for a couple hours and meeting people.
It was nice to be at lower elevation today. Although this was the coldest temperatures I’ve run in, the warm people of Fargo made up for that, and then some.