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Mark Knutson, Published May 29 2011

Marathon appreciates community

More than 20,000 runners and walkers stepped up to their starting lines May 20-21 to complete a training and planning journey that began months ago. People from all 50 states took to the rockin’ streets of Fargo and Moorhead to be embraced by a community of prideful residents and fans. A community that less than two months ago spent countless hours fighting the rising waters of the mighty Red River. A flood of a river was replaced by a flood of runners. Sandbags and clay dikes were replaced by cups of water and cheering rock bands. One day after the completion of the 2011 Fargo Marathon and I am in awe of this community’s support of the event!

We live in an awesome community of perseverance and commitment to excellence. When Mayor Dennis Walaker takes it upon himself to go out and drive the marathon course weeks in advance to make sure the streets are in their finest condition, you know that we live somewhere special. When fourth- and fifth-grade students in West Fargo secretly raise $600 to give to Alexa’s Hope … in memory of their school principal’s daughter, you know that we live somewhere special. When a local man pushes his handicapped friend 13.1 miles in a wheelchair so he can experience the excitement of this event, you know that we live somewhere special. These are the things that help to elevate the Fargo Marathon into the top 10 marathon events in the country.

We all know that our community is special. Now, thousands of people from miles away know it, too. The people from the “Big Cities” come to run the Fargo Marathon … and they leave here with a sense of what “good living” is all about.

On behalf of myself, the marathon’s organizing committee and its board of directors, I would like to thank this community for its continued support of the Fargo Marathon. Sponsors, volunteers, city employees and leaders, residents, entertainers … the list goes on. Every one of you combine to make the Fargo Marathon what it was this past weekend. Please realize that you are the Fargo Marathon.

On behalf of myself, I also want to say a special thank you to the organizing committee for its undying commitment to the Fargo Marathon. These people represent the word “team” in every aspect. The long hours and careful preparation they put in during the year results in a three-day celebration of fun and health!

I look forward to the future of the Fargo Marathon. With a community like this, how could I not?

Knutson is executive director of the Fargo Marathon.