Showing posts from May, 2015

Fargo Marathon 2015: Truth, Justice, and the American Way

The biggest story from the marathon probably has been- it was cold. The second and lesser known story I will discuss in a later post. A third does exist but it is more romantic. And that being said there were not too many interesting shots  to get since most people were bundled up good. The only thing I did not see was someone running in a ski mask, but I suppose that I might have missed that one.
The marathon was fortunate to be run during the best weather of the weekend. As the weekend progressed the temperatures and precipitation made for a much cooler Fargo than previous years. But having the race this early in May is hit or miss with the weather. 2 of last years top finishers did not even run despite being registered. I would not say the conditions were adverse. They were good but certainly not ideal. The biggest challenge for running in Fargo is wind.  Nonetheless 20,000 is certainly a good draw for a race in cooler weather. Starting indoors certainly helped.
Costumes were a ra…

Fargo Marathon 2015: Spectating

It might have been freezing but Fargo showed up to cheer on the runners. All along 9th and 8th and Broadway masses thronged to glimpse the running spectacle. I believe this is one of the reasons this event draws so many participants- there are spectators.
I have done other races and nothing makes a long run go better than a few words of encouragement or the excitement of lots of people. It is that energy that a crowd generates for the runners that makes this marathon special.
The Fargo Marathon gets it right when they route the races into the neighborhoods and not on the outskirts of town.

Fargo Marathon 2015: The Big Chill

30 degrees Fahrenheit at race time this morning! Fortunately all the races started in the FargoDome.
Lots were well bundled up and some less so. The top runners treated the weather like any other and cruised the course with shorts and tank tops. As a spectator I was chilled. I am glad I went back home and picked up gloves for the family otherwise I would have begun running to keep myself warm. This might have been the coldest starting temperature since the inaugural race 11 years ago. And on that day it snow too!
The chill did not keep 9th and 8th St from cheering on the throngs of runners fast and slow. Many spectators were in place well before the 7:30 start of the marathon and good parking was limited. Nonetheless it was a great time.
Nothing terribly dramatic at this year's race from what I observed. Marathon victors won pretty handily. But I must give a shout out to Keith Lehman. This is a guy to watch for the future. He might come back and win this race in a year or two. Bu…

Train Day 2015 Extra: William Crooks

The  Northern Trackers have a great spot in Crosslake, MN that features 3 scales of model trains in addition to a 1/2" scale model of the the William Crooks, Minnesota's first locomotive. I try to visit whenever I am passing through the area. The Crooks model sits outside their building near a G scale layout. Inside there is an expansive HO layout that models the railroad activity of the northern Minnesota from the early 1900s. Above there is a G scale loop. In another room there is an O-scale 3 rail layout with some interactive accessories.
The real William Crooks locomotive sits in the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. It formally had been on display at the St. Paul Union Depot but since 1972 has been in the Duluth museum beside another venerable engine, The Minnetonka.
An excellent article on the Saga of the William Crooks.
As for the person, William Crooks- he was the chief engineer for the railroad which the locomotive belonged- St Paul and Pacific. He was a Colonel in the…

Something for Train Day 2015

At the Lake Region Pioneer Threshermen's grounds in Dalton, MN there is about a mile long loop of narrow gauge track on which a French steam engine rides.You can also see the old Dalton Great Northern Depot on the grounds.
Inside the depot I found this old Great Northern Calendar.

Fargo does not do much to mark Train Day despite it being a town that's existence is due largely to the railroads. Quite a bit of rail traffic rolls through this corridor especially the oil trains from western North Dakota.
I found another place to watch for trains in town although I do not know how busy the tracks are. Just west of NDSU are the old Great Northern yards. There is a lonely road across from the airport that gives a great view of outgoing trains. Too bad the Northern Pacific historical society doesn't run a steam excursion up here.

Fargo Marathon 2015: Cooler

Weather seems to have taken a turn the last few days. Marathon day may be a little less than ideal but the races are starting inside the dome this year. Hopefully there will be minimal wind to contend. The wind out of the west and north the last 2 days has made for some really chilly races. The kids race had some precipitation too. Early May is hit or miss with weather up here. We were trending upward in temps last week but then the bottom almost fell out the latter part of the week.
Things appear to be running smoothly for the races this year. 5K did run out of certain sizes shirts but runners generally did not chose to contend with haggard volunteers. Some made a few comments which is fair. Signage was a bit lacking for the 5K registration and packet pick up. I believe there was only one directional sign and the registration area had nothing. 
No Coach G.P. this year nor is Dick Beardsley hanging around.  But Olympian and American women's marathon record holder Deena Kastor d…

Classic Toys: Small Tonka Trucks

Tonka has served up a large dose of toy vehicles but large and small since the 1950s. These days I think they are a shell of their former self as they have been brought under the big toy tent of Hasbro.

While rummaging through my mostly Finnish farther in law's farm, I found these toy vehicles. 1 is actually a Tootsie toy and should have an entry for itself. The other 3 are Tonka from 70s to late 80s vintage I surmise. I had a few of these types of trucks growing up.

The Motel's Sauna Dilemma

I am lead to believe this motel was not built or run by Finns.
An air conditioned sauna really defeats the purpose of sauna, no?
Nor Scots, since why waste all that money to cool something that was meant to be steamy hot.
Perhaps it was a gimmick to draw in the curious.
I suspect "air conditioned sauna" was a euphemism to describe Selkirk in summer.
The place is still there in Selkirk but looks like the air conditioned sauna was ditched for a hot tub.

Fargo Marathon 2015: Countdown to start

Just a week to go before the Fargo Marathon kicks off. The route markings are on the streets.
I think May 10th is the earliest the marathon has ever been run in Fargo. Not sure if that is keeping the numbers down.  As of 4/28/15 there is plenty of room left in all races. In previous years that has not been the case.
Good that the weather has been warming up although all races start inside the Fargo Dome except the 5K.
A route change this year will keep the marathon north of 94 and include a considerable increase in mileage on the Moorhead side of the river. Looks like 4 miles in the middle of the marathon. The half does not even cross the river. And the 10K and 5K stay relatively close to Fargo Dome and Mickelson Field. Basically opens up more spectating locations in Moorhead in the neighboorhoods adjacent to Concordia College.