Jennifer Clark — HF16743 – DA3643 – MM15623
Going far in the Fargo Marathon!
State #39 and Half #201 in the books!
Fargo Marathon and Half is considered the premier race in North Dakota, and I can see why. Here’s the scoop…
We were late getting into Fargo Friday night, dashing to a pre-race dinner and then dashing to the FargoDome for the last 15 minutes of packet pick-up. So we did not get to see the Expo but heard it was a good one, considering we are still in the era of the pandemic. Bib pickup was easy and fast. They print your name and info out and stick it on your bib at pickup – super cool and efficient!
The race started in the FargoDome, home to North Dakota State University Bisons. A 10,000 seat arena, it was a great place to meet up, get ready to go, and have a loud and fun beginning to the race. Pictures tell it all!
Coming out of the FargoDome, we ran thru a variety of neighborhoods, both new and historic, then crossed the Red River into Moorhead, Minnesota. We soon circled back into Fargo, through downtown and into more neighborhoods.
The historical part of the neighborhoods was my favorite part of the race. Lots of neighbors were out enjoying the spectacle and visiting as runners came by. It looked like they were enjoying the race too. I enjoyed the beautiful Craftsman and Victorian-style homes, chatting with the neighbors, and listening to all sorts of music playing. It was almost like a big block party. There “might” have been some beer and mimosas available in this area also, along with water, fruit and candy.
Volunteers did most of the safety work, stopping vehicles from joining the race. Police presence was good as well, especially at major intersections along the course.
There were music groups along the way including the West Fargo High School band and an Elvis impersonator. We heard a bagpipe band on the marathon course a short distance away. There were other groups and individuals along both the half marathon and marathon courses.
We passed some interesting sites including the Moorhead MN League fields! Baseball? Soccer? Nope… Horseshoe Courts… yep, horseshoes is a sport in Fargo.
Another interesting site was at the edge of the historical residential area… a large Case Combine tractor and employees cheering!
Running by several parks, the most interesting was a gateway to a small park with a metal sculpture on top honoring first responders.
The course took us through downtown twice, with its many bars, restaurants, and small shops. The downtown district is vibrant and in the evening, turns into a party.
David was on the course changing 0.0 shirts and ringing the cowbell for us all. This time he had
Susan Feakes (local to Fargo) as his navigator and fellow bell ringer. She was armed with two smaller cowbells and was ringing in ways David had never seen before… doing the flamenco, salsa, rumba, with a hint of NASCAR Checkered Flag waver! Showing total dedication to the art of bell ringing, she got a couple of blisters on her fingers. She is a pro!! Together, they even had a cowbell gauntlet going on!
This race had about 850 marathoners and 1650 half marathoners. One of the larger events this year, it was an example of the effect of the pandemic even with things opening up more. Fargo marathons pre-pandemic were up to 18,000!
One suggestion to make it better would be additional aid stations towards the beginning of the course. The first one was a good bit into the run (between 2.5 and 3 miles) and you kept wondering where it was. They really could use another in the first 6 miles – there were only 2 available. During the last half of the race there were a good many more, which was good for those starting to struggle and needing it.
Also, being a Mississippi girl, when there is a course description of “flat” I think of MS Gulf Coast or New Orleans or even a few out west. I would say this was “flat” in relative terms, with a few rolling hills.
I hope this race grows back into the event it was known for. I cannot imagine the excitement of this event when it reaches pre-pandemic levels. It is a race worth doing… the best of North Dakota.
6:00am Sunday… and we are on the plane home… until the next race!!
Photo and Post Credit Jennifer Clark