24 May 2013

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.

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