24 May 2013

A marathon of maniacs - Fargo Marathon 2013

Let me preface this just so you don't start thinking that running a marathon in Fargo is a hazard to your life. I will first say that marathon maniacs are generally decent people and non-violent. They like the challenge of zealously running marathons. It is a club of sorts with different levels of which you can attain through running lots and lots of marathons.
Well there were plenty of them in Fargo this weekend. And investigating further I discovered that it was perhaps these runners who started their race early. Becoming a particular level of maniac has a time component in which you need to run so many marathons. So instead of perhaps bonking out in the humidity- they started earlier.
Here is a blog post about the marathon from one nicknamed T-Rex.

2010 Chris Myers ponders his  upcoming Marathons 
During my prep work for writing the post about the Fargo Marathon I check the registrants list to find people I know. I missed a few this year. I saw co-worker Kurt Fraser in the race- I think I even saw him at packet pick up. Then there was Jake who I mentioned a few posts ago. He appeared in the photo I had no clue he'd be running- but then again he does run a bit.
But then there is Chris Myers. He's been running Fargo for a few years. I checked his name in the registration DB and it does not show up. Then I saw on Facebook that he had just run Lake Wobegon Marathon ( and if I did a little more looking I could see he ran the Eau Claire Marathon on May 5th.)
I sent him a message and said we'd miss him in Fargo. To which he replied- He was running Fargo.
Huh? His name was not in the DB.
I saw him run by and just assumed I must have missed something.
Now the rest of the story or at least the middle part.
During Chris' trek up to Fargo he realized that he did not even register for the race and of course the race registration was closed. That sucks. Big time sucks, especially for a marathon maniac.
But he posted his embarassment on Facebook.
I can only postulate what might have transpired after that relevation. But somehow through the work of a benevolent fellow maniac Chris gets into the race.

Chris responded "Thank god for modern technology and the kindness of the running community! Big sigh of relief!"

Myers had a little spill at around mile 21 that skinned up his knee and hands. But he weathered onward after medical care and completed his 4th marathon in 21 days. Now that's a real marathon maniac!

The Last Few Miles - Fargo Marathon 2013

Kenyan James Kirwa has about a 2 block lead on next runner at mile 18
Although I was not anywhere near the finish, overall this was one good race. Sure the humidity was high a times and it was a bit wet in the morning but the race finished with a flourish not seen in Fargo since 2008 when Eric Sondag won. Sondag was on hand this year providing color commentary for the Forum's live blog.
Let's rewind back to the 4th mile. James Kirwa sped by followed by a bit of a space and then Chris Erichsen. And this was how it was for a majority of the race: Kirwa was holding a decent lead on Erichsen.

Chris Erichsen is steady at mile 18
Near mile 18 when I saw the leaders again Kirwa had what I would guess to be a under a quarter mile advantage over Erichsen. The rest of the elite men were further back and actually one of them, Eric Chirchir, withdrew around mile 18. He looked to be favoring his knee. He was in 3rd at the time he withdrew and got carried away in a golf cart.
By this time I was thinking that a Kenyan runner will finally win the Fargo Marathon.
I thought too soon.
What I failed to note was Kirwa had won the Pittburgh Marathon just 2 weeks prior. Could he be ready to run a such a pace?
"History repeating itself?" Sondag philosophized on the live blog.
At mile 20 it appeared Kirwa was slowing pace. He then continued to look back quite a bit according to Forum coverage. He eventually upped his pace. But then came the 23rd mile.
Erichsen had been gaining mostly because he pace was steady throughout. As Kirwa let up his pace, he cut the lead. Then somewhere between 23 and 25, Erichsen dug deep and bested the Kenyan's pace and gained the lead and never relented. Reports say Erichsen ran a 4:40 mile between mile 23 and 25. That's amazing!
Erichsen crossed the finish 2:20:42 followed by Kirwa at 2:21:32. What a finish!

Nicole Porath won the women's marathon in 2:50:49 without much of a story. She had lead throughout. And she is a Gustie. Not that I have any ties to the college in St. Peter but let's say I was an unofficial ambassador of goodwill for the school way back. Looks like MSUM track does not get all the spotlight. Minnesota-Moorhead may have claimed 5k gold but Gustavus Adolphus can claim the 10K and Women's Full.

22 May 2013

And the race goes on- Fargo Marathon 2013

Still dragging out this marathon. Probably because I did not get many pictures or find a theme.
No I did find a theme and I will get to those later.

Now onto to business.
After the elites then came the herds.
These are the halfies.
the masses
Apparently the man must be mistaken about this race- this is no beer run.
However, I am wrong. There was a beer garden at the finish line. Bizarre but I suppose it makes you forget all those pavement pounding miles.

Jake and the Red Beard
Looking through my pictures I then realize I had gotten a photo of a top beard a co-worker too- Jake.

Jake identified

What about the masses from the marathon?

MFS's co-worker in pink and sunglasses
My Mostly Finnish Spouse spotted a co-worker running the marathon incognito.
People ran by and by. Even Chris Myers ran by. Now he is turning into a real Marathon Maniac.
And apparently 2 members of the Emmy winning web series Intramural Glory, Mike McCue and Paul Unglaub ran by. But I must not have been paying attention. And I don't think Paul was in the series. At least on camera. I was. In fact if the guys were paying attention along the course they would have noted the Black Building on Broadway in downtown Fargo played a role in the webisode I created as an extra for the series.
I surmise they ran the marathon to get in shape for another run at Intramural Glory. Perhaps they were looking for something more fulfilling that they had more control over. In team sports  one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. That kind of happened with the team in Intramural Glory. Really Cougar should have been running this race- to show the public he is back from his injury. Maybe that could be a kickstarter campaign- Help Cougar run Fargo.
Sad I did not get to see them. I would be great to know what life is like after Intramural Glory.
The both finished in around 4 hours 40 minutes and some change.
Oh one more thing-
there was a hot band at the end of the block.
Reggae Band

20 May 2013

A little wet and humid - Fargo Marathon 2013

The view near mile 4 just before official race time
My preparations for a morning of spectating and random coverage began at 5:30 AM. 
My crew zipped over to our race corner near mile 4 at 6:30 AM and set up the easy up tent in a light rain. Not much was happening until we started to see a few runners trickle by. And these were runners with official race bibs. No clue what they were doing. Too far from the Dome to be lost. I think about 2 dozen passed before either half or full officially started. We do know that a guy from Iowa ran the 10K by accident but eventually got on the right course for the marathon. Cris Estes would be proud. Apparently some entrants felt that because of the potential for high humidity in the later morn it would be better to start sooner than later. But perhaps they were slow runners who needed more than 6 hours to complete the course. This is the first time I ever encountered anything like that.
Let's go back in time for a moment before the race begins  to May 17th- inside the Fargo Dome.
As all the hubhub of packet pick up was going on I snapped a few celebrity shots.

Beardsley chats and challenges
Ah yes. Dick Beardsley, the trans-local guy who has ran marathons faster than anyone has run the Fargo Marathon. Still holds the Grandma's record. I think he moved to Texas recently. He was here touting some healthy recovery mix. I think I got a sample.

Coach GP texting.
An obligatory picture of Coach GP- the voice of the marathon. He's been doing stuff for the Marathon for 8 years now. He should just get a holiday home near Fargo. He's a pretty likeable fellow that has nothing but words of encouragement spurting forth from his mouth. Oh, and he's cool too!
Enough with those running celebs. Let's head back to the marathon.

The rains stopped after 7 but it still was damp and occasionally drizzling. At least there were no high winds and we had coffee and breakfast sandwhiches. As 8 o'clock approached we got out the bells and started the cheering the halfies.

 Then a bit after 8:30 Kenyan James Kirwa strides by followed at bit of a distance by some other elite runners including Twin Citian and 2010 champ Chris Erichsen. Kirwa seems to have a decent lead at mile 4 but nothing insurmountable.
Coverage continues in my next post- including the women's marathon champ- a Gustie!

18 May 2013

The race is just the beginning- Fargo Marathon 2013

I am exhausted. I think ran the marathon. However, I did not. I spectated.
However, after spectacting in the early hours of morning I mowed the lawn then tilled the garden.
And all this is after spending most of Friday up at the Fargo Dome volunteering and watching my MFS run the 5K.
Rain may have put a damper on the 1st part of the race but the sun pulled out a major comeback by mid-morning. Yeah SUN!
I am much surprised and impressed that Chris Erichsen pulled out a victory in the men's marathon. Both times I saw him he was trailing in 2nd place.
Nichole Porath took the women's title. She had a commanding lead both a mile 4 and later around 18. I also got to check her in at the elite runner check in.
And Fargo's finest Eric Loeffler won the half. He continues to stand astride the top runners in the region.
But let's begin with my extended coverage of the races- beyond the races and to the intrigue.
This post will cover the "celebrities" at the 5K.

Big hair- doesn't play sports
 For charity someone may do anything. Plenty of charity runners this year. It is almost cliche that if you are running you must be doing it for some cause or charity. Anyways, this guy got a pompedor for the race. He is almost Elvis-like but not. And I would like to make a plea - "Elvis we need you to run Fargo, again!" Not a single Elvis this year in any race- although I am not sure of the 10K.

The dark side reigneth at the 5K. Although I see the Princess is keeping her father in check. I have not seen Star Wars characters before but say- Keep it coming. How about Chewbacca next year with a Storm Trooper.

Hey wait- is that Chewy or Swamp Thing. Whatever this was it sure got the attention of that runner on the right

What I have to say to this guy is- "Good, Jarb!" If the wind picked up I am sure he would have floated away over the Fargo Dome.
More pics at Twitter- @suspect_bill

17 May 2013

Another Freight Car Friday- It is good for you

Lionel 3264 Refrigerated Milk Car
A venerable operating reefer from early Post War Lionel. This one is in Ok shape. Doors are in bad shape and the figure who carries out the milk containers is missing.
This guy is heavy. The operating part has a lot of heft to it. I have not tested it yet because I have not set up my operating track piece yet.

15 May 2013

Highlights from last year- Fargo Marathon 2013

Last year German Oliver Hoffmann was the first to finish the Fargo Marathon. Lisa Dyer won the women's title. Not much on the victors on the net besides their Fargo victories. I think Hoffmann may be lurking in the European track and field circuit. Dyer may still aspire to qualify for the 2016 Olympic trials. And we have a blog post from just after her victory. But then the blog is silent after Thanksgiving 2012.

Despite the cool weather in 2012 there was quite a turnout and spectators once again showed their Fargo friendly spirit.
Here's some highlights from last year.

It will be a little different this year so it should be an interesting race.

The heat is on - Fargo Marathon 2013

A view from mile 8 on the half
Could be the warmest Fargo Marathon this weekend. And there is a chance of thunderstorms. So who knows what could happen. Weather does that to you. I expected it to cool off a bit by weekend but forecasts have said "no."
Last year was a bit cool and wet so with the the "flood" course in place and warmer start this could be good one. Speaking of the route- it does not visit the Moorhead side of the river. However, there are plenty of stretches of this route where you can see the river and perhaps a little bit of Minnesota.
Old Marathon marker on the Milwaukee Road Path

The Milwaukee Road path has returned to the course this time around. Marathoner will get to run on this path on the bottom of the route for miles 11, 12, and part of 13.
I hardly had time to research runners this year so I do not know any potential victors. The 'Net has been pretty mum about such things.
Casey Miller, Thomas Tisell are the only top 10 overall finishers from the marathon last year that are returning. Kyle Downs is running the half this year.
And women's 3rd place finisher Brittany Christianson is returning to run 26.2 miles again.


13 May 2013

Kicking things off with Estes- Fargo Marathon 2013

To continue to kick marathon week off let's revist that legendary interview of Cris Estes....

The legend goes that Cris ran the marathon course 3 times in one day at the 2009 event. No one is quite sure how he did it. Even he is a bit confused- mostly from runner's delerium.
In 2009 the route was re-routed into a loop- 2 loops was the marathon distance.
Perhaps we will catch up with Cris Estes this year as he plans to provide motivation to runners this years on the course.

Waiting for it to heat up - Fargo Marathon 2013

Race week is here. There is less flood than expected. But it is overcast.
Our late spring only peaks out once in a while.
Although it warmer now the temperatures will drop later this week into the weekend. But that is nothing to be concerned with the lows will be well above freezing. My only concern is potential showers on Saturday that could dampen things up a bit obviously.Still expect a cool start.
Only races still available to sign up for is the Friday Night 5K and the kids runs on Thursday.
You can sign up online for the 5K until Tuesday May 14th otherwise you can sign up in person at the Fargo Dome. The race currently has about 7000 entrants. Goal is 10000.
Fargo loves Boston is an underlying theme this year in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in April. Memorial bands are being sold and proceeds donated to One Fund Boston, a fund set up to help victims of the Boston bombings.
Media coverage should ramp up by mid-week. Most the news in the last few weeks has been about how the potential flood changed the race course and how many entrants there will be.

So who is running?
My mostly Finnish Spouse will take on the 5K on Friday.
My co-worker Trevor will attempt to do some of the half even though he has trained little since the fall because of an injury.
Another co-worker Chris, will be running the Marthon relay on a Beyond Running team.
My manager will be running the marathon.
Lauren, a NDSU Zoology major is running the half for charity- Born Free USA- to raise funds and awareness to help African lions. No word if she will run with a lion, But I bet she may wear something resembling a lions.
The blogger Glitter Girl will be running the marathon and it appears that she over came a back surgey a while ago and got into running and has not stopped yet.
A Brazilian lady, Sonia Gomes, will be running the marathon.
A friend, Tammy, will be running the 10k.
Dianne Bolton, who ran Boston this year will be running the marathon.
And a load of charity running teams.

03 May 2013

Little Green Acme Boxcar on a freight car Friday

an explosive box car
I acquired this green box car in a train lot I purchased on E-bay. It seems to be an unlisted car as I can find no information whatsoever about an Acme Explosives box car produced by Lionel. So we've got a mystery on our hands again.
Let's examine the car.
It is an all plastic affair. Kind of short and small compared to the 6400 series of boxcars from Post War. Everything barring the axel is plastic. Stickers for nameplates and graphics. No build date. No moving doors. No doubt this is a cheap car which possibly came in a set during the MPC era.
The only indication this is a Lionel product is raised stamped lettering on the coupler sider "Lionel 9000 Series."
This is our first bit of evidence to work. And nothing comes of it on the Net. However the mold of this car certainly resembles quite a few catalogued cars. The Toys R Us 9045 and the Hershey's 9041 must share the same mold. It also appears to be a close relative of the Post War era Baby Ruth x1004.
Nothing comes for Acme Explosives Company either. I surmised it may have been part of a Looney Tunes set but that search produced nothing.
So this boxcar's origins will remain a mystery.

Update- May 9th 2013.
Poking around on E-bay I think I discovered where this car came from-The Black Cave Flyer set. It was a pretty cheap Lionel outfit from 1982.