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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 29 2011

Pressure was on for some banged-up Fargo Marathon charter members

FARGO – If it were any other event, Kathy Kanwischer would not have run the Fargo Marathon last week. But membership into the “charter club” was closed seven years ago and the Moorhead resident didn’t want to lose her status.

She is one of 36 runners who have completed all seven marathons, and this one was an adventure. Shoulder surgery in February left her unable to run for five weeks.

She returned to the streets for three weeks, but a pinched nerve in her neck put her back on the sideline. Still, there she was at the 7:30 a.m. starting line last Saturday.

“It’s absolutely the only reason I did it this year,” she said of the charter club.

She carried her cell phone with so in case she had to stop, one of her children could pick her up.

But with the encouragement of her husband, Marvin Kanwischer, and a friend, Chuck Roos, she ran the first half of the race and “ran-walked” the second half. She finished in a time of 5 hours, 3 minutes, 25 seconds.

But at least she finished.

“Chuck says we should have a booth at the dome (for the Expo),” Kathy said. “But what do you say? ‘We’re a group you can’t belong to?’”

Marvin Kanwischer and Roos are also charter members.

Although not as injury-related, Fargo’s Laura McDaniel had similar doubts in her seventh straight marathon. The humidity played a factor.

“At one point, I was going to stop,” she said. “I was cranky and out of juice. My husband says, ‘You’re a charter member.’ I said, ‘I don’t care.’ He said, ‘Well, you’ll care tomorrow.’”

Perhaps nobody is more of an authority than Fargo’s Dick Bailly, who is also a Twin Cities Marathon charter member. That race will hold its 30th annual this fall and club membership is at 40 runners.

“That’s a big milestone, 30 years,” said Bailly, 66. “It’s mind boggling that 40 have run it every year. Insane.”

Bailly said charter clubs do have their risks, such as what Kathy Kanwischer went through.

“Sometimes, to keep that string going has its pitfalls,” he said. “As I get older, I’m almost more concerned that I’m feeling good at the end of the run.”

The Fargo club is trying to hold on, losing six members from last year and 11 from two years ago.

The member from the furthest away is Anna Pender from Kensington, Calif. She is a 1992 Moorhead High graduate. Sixteen are from Fargo, Moorhead or West Fargo, five are from the Twin Cities and two are from Manitoba.

Some don’t put a high priority on training, like Dave Sornsin from Fargo. He finished in 5:35.36, including a private beverage stop with an old neighbor at around mile 20.

“Every year I say I’m going to train like I did in the first one,” Sornsin said.

Besides the charter club, Sornsin has an added emotional attachment to running every marathon: He met his wife, Stephanie, at the inaugural.

“That’s the driving force more than anything,” he said.


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia


Charter Club

Runners who have completed the first seven Fargo Marathons:

Richard Bailly, Fargo

Bradley Berg, Fargo

Dean Bloch, Dilworth

Tim Blue, Aberdeen, S.D.

Burt Carlson, Mound, Minn.

Grant Crabtree, Ellendale, N.D.

Russell Crume, Glyndon

Cindy Deuser, Fargo

Paul Frank, Fargo

Judy Jacobs, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Scott Johnson, Plymouth, Minn.

Derick Jungling, Fargo

Kathy Kanwischer, Moorhead

Marvin Kanwischer, Moorhead

Raymond Laney, Fargo

Laura McDaniel, Fargo

Patrick Millard, Fargo

Colin Moran, West Fargo

Sharon Mordorski, Minneapolis

Anne Norris, Moorhead

Jon Owen, Luverne, N.D.

Gary Pawlenty, Eagan, Minn.

Anna Pender, Kensington, Calif.

Maureen Peniuk, Winnipeg

Joel Ransom, Fargo

Jason Rehder, Moorhead

Daniel Roach, Hawley, Minn.

Chuck Roos, Fargo

Michelle Strocen, Langruth, Manitoba

Dave Sornsin, Fargo

Michael Taylor, Bloomington, Minn.

Dave Thompson, West Fargo

Rodney Van Hoof, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Chuck Walker, West Fargo

Jacob Yurek, Silver Lake, Minn.