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Steve Wagner, Published August 12 2012

Finding inspiration key to a good run

Bemidji, Minn. - Over the past several weeks, my thoughts have focused a lot on inspiration – how, why and where it comes from.

Coincidentally, these thoughts overlapped with the Olympics, where we’ve seen plenty of inspirational athletes and moments. But my search for motivational material goes back farther – and deeper – than London the past two weeks.

Injuries, conundrums and training hiccups have been a consistent part of my 2012. I want more than a highlight reel replayed on NBC each night. I needed answers for the issues affecting my own training and racing. I craved more than watching others on the world’s largest stage.

This past weekend, I found myself back in Fargo, the scene of so many early morning training runs, speed workouts and long runs marked by the camaraderie of a community that embraces our sport.

Early Sunday, just after the Olympic marathon began, I headed out on my own, deciding to draw on my inner drive to knock out a long training run instead of watching the elites duke it out six time zones away. Along the way, when things began to get a bit difficult – the long runs have been sporadic since Grandma’s Marathon – my thoughts turned to the laughter and silly conversations shared with friends.

Those memories made each step feel a little lighter and easier, even though the pace suggested otherwise. By the time the run was finished, I had found the inspiration that I had been looking for.

Beyond endurance

Last year, Ben Clark finished Badwater, the grueling 135-mile ultramarathon through the California desert, and ran across North Dakota, as a test of mental and physical endurance. Along the way, he raised money to help out others.

Now he’s at it again. Clark started running loops at North Dakota State University and plans to log 400 miles on campus this week in an effort to raise awareness and money for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

Both of his parents suffer from autoimmune disease. To find out more about his efforts, check out his blog at benclarkruns.blogspot.com or visit www.facebook.com/RunningForAutoimmunity. Ben also will be providing Twitter updates at twitter.com/benclark314 or you can find him by using @benclark314.

Best of luck Ben.

Bemidji (Minn.) 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.