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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 19 2012

VIDEO: Moorhead's Dyer completes long road back with victory in Fargo Marathon

FARGO – The Fargo Marathon finish line for Lisa Dyer was on the west end of the Fargodome.

It was a long race because a case can be made the starting gun went off in 2008.

That’s when the former Moorhead High School standout decided to get back into running, and it wasn’t easy. She just had her third child, and the first run went something like this: jog for five minutes, walk for a couple and jog for another five. Not quite the stuff of champions.

But she was a champion Saturday, after winning the women’s division with a time of 2 hours, 45 minutes, 15 seconds. Former winner Meg Grindall, also of Moorhead, finished second at 2:53.08.

“I’m choked up,” Dyer said of the final finish in the dome. “It was exciting.”

Dyer, who lives in Moorhead, took the lead somewhere near the 10-mile mark and was never threatened. It was a personal record time for her and about 14 minutes faster than her first marathon in 2009.

“I stretched it out but I tried not to think about who was behind me,” she said.

If there was a Fargo Marathon award for Comeback Competitor of the Year, she would win in a landslide. She ran for a couple of years at the University of Minnesota, but injuries sidelined her to the point of giving up the sport.

She quit running for five years.

“It was very humbling to come back and try to get into fitness,” said Dyer, now 29 years old.

Her first call was to her high school coach, Tom Dooher, who said he would be glad to help get her back to speed. He’s still her coach.

She tried to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, but fell short. Her mileage has steadily increased from 40 miles a week to 80 to 90 recently.

“I’d like to take the next step and get into triple digits,” she said. “The good thing is I haven’t been injured.”

She plans on running the USA Half Marathon Championship in Duluth, Minn., next month.

“We’ll see how recovery goes,” she said.

Dyer received $1,500 for the victory. Grindall got $1,200, and Brittney Christianson from Burlington, N.D., was third at 2:54.05 and earned $800.

It was the first full marathon in Fargo for Dyer, who previously ran the half marathon.

“There were tons of people cheering, and everybody knew your name,” she said.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia