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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 01 2012

Fargo Marathon 5K still short of goal for participants

FARGO – North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, bad back and all, said not running the 5K in the Fargo Marathon is not an option. If he has to crawl, he said, he’ll do it.

The plan is to finish it with his wife, Kathleen, and two other prominent North Dakotans: Gov. Jack Dalrymple and his wife, first lady Betsy. Of course, entering the race came with a little ribbing.

“I wanted to keep this a secret,” Drew Wrigley joked, “but the governor thinks this will be a relay between the four of us.”

It will be 3.1 miles, and there’s still a ways to go for the 5k to reach its goal of 10,000 people, which if reached would give 1,000 kids in the area a new pair of Nike running shoes.

The event went over the 20,000-participant mark for all races on Tuesday and is on pace to perhaps beat last year’s record attendance of 23,057 entrants. Race director Mark Knutson said he expects the marathon to reach its cap later this week.

Knutson said the half marathon, 10K and marathon relay each have about 400 spots left before they fill up. If the Friday night 5K reaches 10,000, he expects about 25,000 participants to be hitting the streets of Fargo and Moorhead May 17-19.

“The 5K is where we have room to grow,” Knutson said. “You could say I’m making a May Day plea to the general public.”

He said he expects around half of the 5K entrants to be walkers. There are 3,700 spots left before it fills and that translates to lot of matching dollars by Dakota Medical Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield in the marathon’s “Shoes for Kids” campaign.

“This is eight years now and if I were to identity one event that has been especially important to the community, it’s the marathon,” said Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker. “Now their newest task is to provide shoes for kids that can’t afford them. This is for everybody in the community.”

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia