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Helmut Schmidt, Published May 19 2012

318 and still counting: 86-year-old cuts half-hour off his Fargo Marathon time

FARGO – Most 86-year-olds are just fine with a stroll around the block, but it’s the rare bird that steps out for 26.2 miles.

Put Burt Carlson of Mound, Minn., squarely in the latter category.

Carlson finished his 318th marathon Saturday, running the Fargo Marathon in 6 hours, 34 minutes and 51 seconds.

That’s a half hour faster than his finish in Fargo last year, he said.

“The age is a big challenge,” he said, talking about how the wear and tear of running is making each race a bit harder as he grows older.

Carlson started running marathons when he was 57. He drew high-fives and applause from race volunteers at the finish, after clocking in nearly 20 minutes faster than the race’s final official finisher.

Pride – plus two bottles of coffee, a cup of sugar, and a fanny pack of candy bars – keep him going.

“I can’t stop because there’s too many people watching me,” Carlson said.

Still, at the finish line he was more interested in finding a warm, dry shirt than penciling in next year’s Fargo Marathon on his calendar.

“We’ll wait and see how it goes,” Carlson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583