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Published September 05 2011

Wagner: Fargo Marathon start time to get a makeover


Registration opened this past week for the 2012 Fargo Marathon and there appears to be one key change from this spring’s record running event.

Based on early information, next spring’s event again offers a good value, a variety of race distances and entertainment along the course.

The only notable change is the timing of the two long distance events: the marathon and half marathon will swap starting times.

This past spring, marathon runners received the benefit of an earlier start. An earlier start serves as a blessing for those willing to push their bodies through 26.2 miles, primarily because runners can finish earlier and avoid rising temperatures.

The downside in 2011 was the merging courses for the marathon and half marathon, with most having to deal with congestion and the difficulty getting fluids, particularly in the later stages of the course.

In 2012, the half marathon will start earlier, according to www.fargomarathon.com the official website. Half marathoners will get a jump on full distance runners, starting at 7:30 a.m. The marathon is scheduled to start 45 minutes later.

While the move should mean less overall congestion, it isn’t without some of the same inherent issues.

The faster half marathoners will catch the slower 10K runners, who start at 7 a.m., coming into the Fargodome. On the positive, those running the marathon won’t be likely face the same congestion issues from this past spring, but they will be out on the course during a warmer part of the day.

The 2011 race weekend went pretty well. Changing the start times for the longer distance races may make for a better overall experience for the greatest number of runners.

But if there’s one area to address, hopefully race officials will expand the aid stations. Having well-stocked and longer water stops – particularly in the final six-mile stretch – will provide a smoother, safer race for runners.

Those running next spring’s race can save by registering early: fees are $65 for the marathon and $45 for the half marathon through the end of the month, when the first of several $5 price increases take effect.

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