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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 16 2012

Former Spud, Dragon finishes 70th at Boston Marathon

FARGO – Erik Hanson ran the Fargo Marathon last year at what he called an easy pace. The goal: to qualify for Monday’s Boston Marathon.

There was nothing easy about it, but there was everything surprising about Hanson’s performance. The 22-year-old Moorhead High School and Minnesota State Moorhead graduate finished 70th overall with a time of 2 hours, 38 minutes, 15 seconds.

It was a time he was hoping for under ideal cool and cloudy conditions. It was in the 80s for the 116th running.

“It was nasty,” Hanson said. “I haven’t seen a temperature yet but I have never experienced anything like it before. Maybe this means I’ve underestimated myself a little bit or I got really lucky today.”

Perhaps the longer distance fits Hanson better. He finished 31st in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Cross Country Championships his last year at MSUM.

He ran the Fargo Marathon in 2:48.23 to finish 14th overall last year.

“It wasn’t quite the effort that I put in today,” he said. “This is the first one where I really raced. Last year I was just kind of running. This one, I had been planning since September and did a lot more thinking about it.”

Hanson, currently a graduate student at the University of Illinois, was at his best midway through the Boston Marathon. He reached the halfway point at 1:16.59, but also had the hillier section of the course yet to run.

He finished in the top 50 of American finishers.

“Being a first timer and not having any expert’s advice going into the race, I couldn’t have gotten much more out of myself today,” Hanson said.

He’s not certain of his next race. The first priority is to recover but if all goes well, he said it’s possible he may enter the half marathon race in the Fargo Marathon.

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