11 May 2014

Fargo Marathon 2014- Digging Downtown

Marathon leaders dual it out at 12 mile mark
For those spectators who were watching for a incredible race- this year's marathon did not disappoint. Peter Kemboi of Kenya and Arturs Bareakis gave us quite a remarkable dual throughout the entire race. The competitors were running nearly cheek to cheek until the 25th mile when Kemboi decided to dig deep for a charge to the finish and shook off Bareakis. Probably the closes men's race yet. The rest of the men's elite lagged behind more than I expected. Third place arrived nearly 10 minutes later. I was expecting a few more top performances with the ideal weather and thus was surprised by the men's elite. Other Kenyans must have given up on this race.
Oh yeah- who is Bareikis? A runner with a good pedigree who is from Chicago via Latvia . Artur has racked up a few 2nd and 3rd place finishes in marathons. Seems to have been a decent runner since high school. Keeping up with Kemboi was quite the feat. He only crossed the finished a little over 30 seconds after.
The women's race had similar excitement with Kate Papenberg edging out Andrea Redinger late in the race. Like 2012 Men's winner Oliver Hoffman- Papenberg was a steeplechaser in college at the Air Force Academy.
Headlines in today's newspapers praised the decision to have the race start and end downtown. The runners generally liked it. From an atmosphere standpoint I liked it too. Downtown really brought another level to the excitement generated at the finish. And despite the known parking challenges, things seemed to work out for spectators getting to the finish. From a logistics view, downtown is filled with challenges and had potential to cause quite a bit of confusion. Fortunately that did not happen. I heard a little grumbling from volunteers on Thursday about the lack of space for registration and packet pick up but that might have just been the weather that evening. Once Friday rolled in- the show was on and the Civic Center plaza buzzed with excitement. Still, Fargo does need adequate convention space downtown for events of this magnitude. If the weather had not improved I would guess things would have been a little worse. Having everything in 1 place like the Fargo Dome makes managing the details of such a large event a bit more bearable. So I guess hats off to organizers- they did it.

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