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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 26 2012

Lack of flooding alters Fargo Marathon course

FARGO – With no flood this spring, a section of the Fargo Marathon route that snakes into Moorhead is back in the picture – contrary to what was planned over the winter.

A 26.2-mile route that is staged entirely in Fargo – now called the flood contingency route – is getting a last-minute face lift with a 1.5-mile section in Moorhead. Race director Mark Knutson said the Moorhead part was removed because of flood concerns – and not because of the city being perceived as uncooperative with the event.

“Some people in Moorhead were disappointed and thought it was a personal choice not to do that,” Knutson said. “No, it had nothing to do with that. We don’t need the additional stress of the flood.”

Knutson did admit the city of Moorhead “did not embrace the event probably as much as we would have liked, but when it all came down to it, they ended up helping us with it.”

Knutson also said public works departments in both cities were taxed because of flood-fighting issues.

An official with USA Track & Field will arrive in Fargo April 9 to certify the new route. If approved, which is expected, it will give the Fargo Marathon two certified routes.

“One will be dubbed the ‘flood contingency route’ and one we could conceivably stick with for years to come,” Knutson said.

It’s the seventh time in eight years the marathon has altered its course. This version goes back into north Fargo for the first several miles to take advantage of the seclusion provided by trees and the neighborhoods.

Knutson said the residents in north Fargo appear already on board with the festivities. More than a dozen people have said yes to a mailer that asked if they would consider hosting a band.

The adjusted 26.2-mile route that goes into Moorhead is expected to be up on the marathon’s website soon. To account for the old mileage, a section of Seventh Street South in Fargo was removed, but Eighth and Ninth Streets remained.

“It was just too much of a snake” with all three streets, Knutson said.

He said adding the Moorhead piece back in the picture eight weeks before the marathon will not be an issue with runners.

“This is such a minor change,” Knutson said. “I think they’ll appreciate it. Everybody likes going over the Main Avenue Bridge.”

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia