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John Lamb, Published May 22 2012

Lamb: Love comes running

By all accounts the Fargo Marathon is a smashing success. But there is always room for improvement.

The annual event gets more than 20,000 people coursing through Fargo-Moorhead, inspiring even thousands more to get active.

What organizers haven’t capitalized on is that they hold the key to the greatest mixer this area sees annually. Every year 20,000-some motivated folks most of us don’t know come cruising through neighborhoods and the busiest parts of town in full stride and piquing interest along the way.

“Who was the blonde in the pink sports bra?”

“Who was that shirtless, swarthy stud cutting through the pack?”

“Who was that 40-something guy who clearly bit off more than he can run. I wonder if he’ll make it to the finish line.”

Similarly runners whip past tens of thousands of appreciative and encouraging faces, feeling an immense outpouring of love they likely haven’t experienced since the last time they bought the bar a round.

In short – or rather, in running shorts – come marathon day, love is in the air, even if it smells more like sweat and Icy Hot.

So why shouldn’t race organizers help further the good will by offering match-making services. I’m thinking something like a Missed Connections board. Spectators could text in brief “I saw you” messages that could be displayed at the finishing line.

Imagine a runner’s elation when they see they not only set a personal record, but that they got someone else’s heart racing too.

“Brunette in the matching purple shorts and top. You have great form. Let’s not wait another year to carbo-load.”

“Guy limping along at mile 19, if you finished, let’s get Bloody Mary-faced!”

“Liz? Liv? Liza? Lilly? You were too fast and I couldn’t catch your name, but you’ve been running through my mind ever since. Care to slow down and get a Gatorade?”

“You: Blond 30-something male marathoner, running in orange leg-warmers. What’s up with that?”

Then maybe on a part of the marathon’s website runners could enter their own introductions after the race.

“Dudes on Ninth Street. You were offering a beer. I’m thirsty – pay up!”

“Hey girl, thanks for cheering us on at mile 16. One question: Were all of those kids yours? If so, I’ll keep moving on.”

“To the guy in the red flannel shirt yelling ‘You better run’ at runners on Eighth Street while hoisting a beer in one hand and a donut in the other – can you keep your mouth shut over dinner?”

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533