Marathon a hit with runnersThe hope one day of the Fargo Marathon having a permanent course may still be a year away. Call it the price of success. Marathon executive director Mark Knutson said Sunday that congestion issues where the marathon and half-marathon courses converge and the impact of another flood will most likely send the marathon course committee back to the drawing board to come up with a better solution.
By: By Jeff Kolpack , Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO – The hope one day of the Fargo Marathon having a permanent course may still be a year away. Call it the price of success.
Marathon executive director Mark Knutson said Sunday that congestion issues where the marathon and half-marathon courses converge and the impact of another flood will most likely send the marathon course committee back to the drawing board to come up with a better solution.
“It may mean a course adjustment or a starting time adjustment,” he said. “With that many people in those races, we can’t do it anymore. It gets to be too much.”
One problem spot was on Eighth Street South in Fargo, which became a storm of a large pack of marathoners that started at 7:30 a.m. and a pack of half-marathoners that started an hour later. That wasn’t an issue in the early years of the marathon because the numbers weren’t even in the neighborhood of the 20,000-plus that registered this year.
Later, packs of runners from both races that finished at about the same time put the medical staff in the Fargodome at a peak work capacity.
“The medical side was taxed hard,” Knutson said. “I can’t say enough about them. It put a lot of pressure on them and that’s something we need to think about for next year.”
The committee started the half-marathon an hour later mainly because crowds along the course are larger later in the morning and runners enjoy that type of atmosphere.
As for the low-lying streets like Third Street in Moorhead that were under water this spring, Knutson said the marathon would like to avoid that stress.
“We don’t want to go into the Monday of the marathon with water still over the road and a chance we have to redirect runners,” he said.
Those issues aside, Knutson said “99.9 percent” of the participants who left the dome on Saturday did so with a smile on their face.
“They may not have been happy with their own personal performance, but they were happy with the course and everything else,” he said. “And when it comes down to it, that’s what motivates the committee; to make those people happy.”
More than 18,000 people finished various races in the Marathon.
Luke Watson of State College, Pa., won the men’s marathon in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 50 seconds. Camille Herron of West Lafayette, Ind., was the women’s winner in 2:43.41.
More than 12,500 people participated Saturday in the marathon, half-marathon, 10K and relay races. Other events were held Friday.
Bands along the route were met with great reviews, Knutson said. And the weather, which earlier in the week was not looking promising, turned out to be one of the best days so far in the event’s seven years.
“By Tuesday or Wednesday, the forecast was for a tsunami and ironically it ended up being one of our best weather days ever,” Knutson said. “It was a little humid, but the wind was manageable and it was cloudy.”
Kolpack is a sports writer at the Fargo Forum