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Steve Wagner, Published May 20 2012

Wagner: The Fargo Marathon is an inspirational event

Bemidji, Minn.

For all the talk about the weather, and what impact it might have on this year’s Fargo Marathon, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Those of us who have spent quite a bit of time running in the Red River Valley are accustomed to a bit of wind, so considering it was really the only condition Mother Nature threw at us on Saturday, most runners couldn’t ask for better weather.

Personally, the highlight of the weekend was meeting up with friends, cheering them on and listening to their amazing accomplishments.

It’s almost impossible to walk away from a large running event like the one Fargo hosts each year and not feel inspired. There are stories, many of them untold or unheralded, that drive people to the finish line, whether it’s the 5K, 10K, half marathon or the 26.2-mile monster.

You can see it on their shirts, the signs spectators on the course are holding and on their faces while they run. You see it in the finish line celebrations, high-fives and hugs. And, if you’re lucky to meet up with a group or two later in the day, you hear it in their voices as they share the story of their races.

There will likely always be things about an event, particularly when you have more than 20,000 participants, which can be done better. But Fargo is lucky to have such a great event – one that is embraced and supported by a large portion of the community.

At one marathon party, I heard the stories of many courageous and inspirational acts.

For example, one friend ran alongside another runner the entire race, even though it was significantly slower than her natural pace. A gifted runner, she devoted her time to helping others reach their goals, even though it is more physically demanding and harder on the body to run slower. It taxes your muscles and joints in ways the body isn’t accustomed to, and for a longer period of time. To me, the amazing part is she shrugged off the matter like anyone would do the same.

When I think about the spirit of the Fargo-Moorhead community, there are a lot of examples that come to mind. On the list are an emerging running community and the first-class event it hosts each May.

Bemidji Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com.