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Published April 04 2011

Wagner: Fargo runners as tough as area's brutal weather

No one ever said running was going to be easy.

Sometimes it’s flat out hard. Training mileage piles up, long runs intimidate and leave the legs battered and sore, and then there’s the weather – often a formidable foe even if the runner’s spirit and body is up for the challenge.

That’s why one of my favorite running quotes, spoken by Ken Chlouber, the founder of the 100-mile mountain trail race in Leadville, Colo., remains a popular mantra for me.

“You are tougher than you think you are.”

Chlouber was talking about the runners who show up each year to attempt one of the world’s most difficult running events.

But it also seems fitting for those living in Fargo, which now can officially claim “America’s Toughest Weather City” title.

For those of us who live – and run – here, it really comes as no surprise.

The weather often is our greatest challenge.

A few months ago, while in Florida with friends for an adventure race, I found myself running into a stiff headwind. For a moment, I allowed myself to grumble, even though it was 60 degrees.

Then I snapped out of it. We invented wind in Fargo. And we invented floods, blizzards and mosquitoes. I’m not sure we invented thundersnow, but we’ve experienced it now, too. Sure, there are other places that claim to face the elements, but as the inventors, we know a thing or two about the weather.

As runners in the toughest weather city, we must also be some of the toughest runners in America, too.

We don’t have hills or mountains to climb. We don’t face the penetrating heat and humidity of the south. But it takes a lot of guts to get outside to run for the better part of four or five months in the worst - um, toughest - weather in the country. Training for races, like our hometown marathon in May, takes determination and will power.

So before I get too down about the current state of my training and running, I’m just going to take a moment to remember where I live:

America’s toughest weather city.

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Forum News Director Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@forumcomm.com.