Chris Erichsen and Lindsay Henkels but they will be running in the full marathon this year.
Both Pete Gilman and Nicole Cueno will not be returning to defend their titles. It looks as if Pete got his Boston qualifying result last year and placed 38th at Boston just over a month ago. He probably deserves a rest. Nicole is working at a YWCA in the Twin Cities and appears to be co-coordinating triathlons. Best of luck to her.
So the field is wide open. Let's look at the half.
The Duma Runners Club is back again with some real quality Kenyan athletes. Richard Kandie looks favorite but could local runner Eric Loeffler pull down a victory? Richard won the Illinois Half a few weeks ago and won the 2008 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.
Papers are reporting that non-Duma runner Sammy Malakwan will be running the half too. However his registration claims he is set for the full marathon. I suspect the papers may be correct since Sammy ran a 2:15.25 marathon in Green Bay. Strangely Sammy did not win that race. Duma runner James Boit upended him with a 2:15.15. Sammy has been in Fargo before so perhaps he'll put in a good performance whatever race he runs. I just wonder how well he recovers.
Another non-Duma runner Matthew Chesang will run. He just last week won the Green Bay half marathon and defeated Richard Kandie in the 2009 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Again the question is how well does he recover..
Chris Myers also returns to Fargo to run the half. He's been on the blog before. I found out later that another anquaintence, Jason Dyrud, was running the half, too.
On the women's side of the half another Duma runner enters the fold, Grace Kimani. Grace has placed 2nd 2009 Green Bay half marathon and won the Illinois Half Marathon. St. Paulite Jenna Boren has had better times in the half and won back to back titles in the Green Bay Half Marathon 2008 and 2009. She also has the course record of 1:16. Not sure if Jenna has raced recently. She may be better rested.
Oh, and Eric Sondag, the 2008 Fargo Marathon Champ, seems to be in obscurity this time around. He showed up last year and ran a respectable half marathon even though there was talk he was injured. His spouse, Cindy, and winner of the Manitoba Marathon, will be lacing up for the women's marathon.
Leah Thorvilson of Little Rock, Arkansas (but also from Robbinsdale Armstrong HS in the Twin Cities and USC) looks primed to break a course record in Fargo. She has some top 10 finishes including Little Rock and Green Bay and Pittsburgh with some sub 2:50 results.
Another woman of note I want to mention, and not my MFG, is Holly Ochs of Milwaukee, WI (and UW-Whitewater alum.) She ran Boston a few years ago. I believe she definitely could finish in the top 10 or even top 5. That depends on how many friends Leah brings from Little Rock. And don't forget Henkels. She may surprise herself again.
So that's it. Hope to see you on the course. I'll be covering the race the best that I can. Might even get another exclusive interview with Chris Estes.