Monday, May 23, 2016

Fargo Marathon Review

Saturday, May 21, 2016:

I doesn't get much better than this.  Fargo is a great marathon and I highly recommend it.  Despite the unseasonably warm weather I finished my 96th marathon in 6:40:44, ending up first in my 75-79 age group.  Alas I was also last in my age group of 1 runners, but I didn't finish last in the race, crossing the line ahead of 34 others. In fact, according to the official results, in the last six miles I passed 16 runners, walking as fast as I could, and was passed by just two.  This is the eleventh marathon in a row that I have finished between 6:00 and 7:00 hours, seven of them between 6:30 and 7:00.

The mighty Red River of the North

My Race: 

Most important, I had a great time in this marathon.  The weather was warmer than we would have liked, high 70's or low 80's toward the end, but with low humidity and a bit of wind I never felt as though I should slow down to avoid overheating.  I did carry my own water and was glad of it, especially toward the end of the race, refilling my bottle twice and taking at least 24 ounces from it during the race, in addition to water from cups at aid stations.  Also, in the second half of the race, I dumped a paper cup of water on my head at each aid station.
We ran through Concordia College
in Moorhead, Minnesota.  The bell
tower isn't leaning - the runner is.

During the race I took six Clif Shot gels and about that many salt tablets, plus a couple of capsules of magnesium taurate, 125 mg, to help avoid cramps.  Indeed there wes never a hint of a cramp during this marthon, quite unusual for me.

Whining:  The right knee started to complain at about mile seven. I took a naproxen sodium liquid gel at about mile nine, and another later in the race.  Those did seem to help - the knee did not slow me much.

The Fargo Marathon:

Just finished
This is the third time that we have come to Fargo to run this marathon.  We come back because it's so good, and it gets better each time.  Organization is excellent, and there really is a volunteer or a police officer at every intersection.  Several miles of the course are on paved bike trails along the mighty Red River of the North, some on the Minnesota side and some in North Dakota.  All of the rest of the race is on paved city streets, mostly under arching shade trees.  Most streets were completely closed to traffic, and those that were not closed to traffic simply had no traffic.  I never felt at risk from vehicles.

My girls finished the half marathon
It seemed as though the entire community of Fargo-Moorhead was involved in this marathon.  In the New York City marathon, spectators line the streets along the barriers.  Here, spectators sit in lawn chairs in the shade in their own yards, picnicking, partying, or just watching, children everywhere.  One little girl even brought her bunny out to watch.  I could have had as much iced tea as I wanted, just by asking, and I've probably never high-fived so many kids.  It really was fun.

This year the race started and ended in the FargoDome.  This worked perfectly, as far as I am concerned, offering excellent pre-race toilets (go upstairs for shorter lines), and a dry start if it had been raining.  The medal is impressive.  The expo was a nice-sized one.  Post-race food included ice-cold bottles of water, chocolate milk, and pizza.
Happy finisher

Signs along The Way:

  • "Turn around, it's a trap!" 
  • "Run faster - the Kenyans are drinking all the beer" 
  • "If Trump can run, so can you" 
  • "You run better than Congress" (this one is a continuing theme from many marathons ...)
  • "Runners will escape the Zombie Apocalypse" 
  • "GO random stranger, GO!"

The finishers, with friend Karin.
Photo by Josh
We passed literally dozens of bands sprinkled along the route, with a variety of music, a few  overamplified but most of them quite listenable.  At one point a Scottish musical group seemed to be preparing to play, so I stood facing them, hands on hips, until they did.  Then off, doing my best jig down the street.  I'm a Scot, after all.

Splits: 13:12, 13:40, 13:26, 14:03, 17:48 (nature break), 14:15, 15:31, 15:25, 15:13, 14:23, 15:49, 15:45, 14:15, 14:56, 31:46 (2 mi), 15:51, 15:01, 33:21 (2 mi), 15:54, 15:38, 15:21, 15:52, 15:45,  15:30, 3:08, total 6:40:44, pace 15:17.

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