28 April 2016

Fargo Marathon 2016: The improbable half from a 5K

Interesting running related story came out the other day: 12 Year Old Girl Accidentally Runs Half-Marathon. She came ready to run a 5K but instead ran a the half. Quite an achievement for the youngster and also a scare for her parents.  The organizers of the Rochester (NY) Flower City Challenge certainly enjoyed the the free press this story generated nationwide, but for a race day consisting of a little over 3000 runners they also must be scratching their heads. Starting line and starting time confusion generated the mistake.
Perhaps it could have been prevented with better starting line discipline and communication. The half supposedly started 15 minutes prior to the 5K. I can only speculate that there must have been some congestion at the half start which may have impacted the start of the 5K. The 5K appeared to have less entrants- about 1000 for the 5K and little bit over 2000 for the half. I am surprised that the 5K did not have more runners as that has typically been the case in Fargo.
5K has usually attracted the most runners for Fargo Marathon week. Fargo race officials decided to place it on Friday night prior to the marathon which naturally avoids a dilemma like Rochester. There may have been some runners who may have mistakenly ran other races but usually it is runners wanting to run in those races after registration has been closed. There must around 7000 or more entrants amassed at the start on Saturday morn of the race. Fargo's start line is massive but orderly. The courses are clearly marked and stationed with volunteers. If you get lost on the course I am sure there will be someone out there to give directions.
Of course there is the story of Cris Estes who ran the Fargo Marathon course 3 times in 2009. Nobody bothered to tell him to stop. He kept running.
 
Still plenty of room to sign up for this year's events in Fargo. If you want you can run it 3 times too. There just won't be much spectating or aid stations 6 hours after the race start. 

14 April 2016

Something new and something else for Fargo Marathon

The organizers of the Fargo Marathon as not struggling for ideas on how to expand the brand and participation.
The Furgo Dog Run has been added this year to cater to the growing number of canine runners. Well, maybe it is more for the owners of those canines who like to run with their furry friends. The 1.6 mile race is set for Tuesday of race week, which is really stretching Fargo Marathon's pawprint over the entire week. I cannot say that I know of many pet runs out there but this may definitely be a good move considering the amount of cash that Americans shell out for their pets. The event also has a mascot, MJ, who apparently is training for the event. MJ has been mum on the topic since the end of March.
The 2nd addition to the races this year is the Cyclothon. On Monday May 16 bicyclers will be able to do the marathon course and receive a shirt and medal. However, you need to finish the course in under 2.5 hours. Sounds like a strenuous bike ride. In previous years I have biked a vast majority of the course without it being an race event. It is an interesting venture and perhaps may stir a bit of interest in future bike races or bike-a-thons.
And finally the Fargo Marathon will be a drug free race. Actually it has always been one and open to random drug tests by USA Track and Field. The local paper brought to light that the 2014 men's marathon winner had been associated with a coach who is under investigation for alleged doping of the runners she coached. Race director Mark Knutson and 2008 winner Eric Sondag both doubted that the runner in question, Peter Kemboi, had used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) to win the race noting that the prize money and the cost of  PEDs did not make financial sense. I believe the top prize for race winners is about $1500.
And on another note, Will Ferrell has still not signed up for the Fargo Marathon. Neither has Mike Farrell of MASH fame.