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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 09 2013

More than 21,000 entries are expected for Fargo Marathon races

FARGO – Online registrations for the Fargo Marathon closed at 11:59 Thursday night and to the surprise of executive director Mark Knutson, the numbers are on par with last year’s record crowd.

More than 21,000 will have entered, despite all of the weather-related hurdles in the last several months.

“I think we’ve found that running outside just isn’t that hard,” Knutson said. “Everybody is like, how do you do that when it’s 10 below?’ It’s really not that bad.”

Knutson expects about 2,000 for the marathon, 6,500 to 7,000 for the half marathon, 4,000 to 4,100 for the 10K and about 1,100 for the marathon relay. The weather, Knutson said, did figure in the entries this year with more moving to the half marathon.

All of those races are slated for next Saturday, May 18. The Youth Run is set for Thursday night.

The late surge has been in the 5K scheduled for Friday night. It’s a point of emphasis for Knutson because of the “Shoes for Kids” campaign that donates one pair of running shoes for every entrant to children in the Red River Valley.

The goal is 10,000. That number was hovering at less than half of that for the longest time this spring, but is now past 7,000 and growing. Registrations for the 5K will be taken up until race day.

“Early on, the numbers in the 5K were way off from last year,” Knutson said. “I didn’t think we would get anywhere near what we needed but that has started to shift in our favor.”

Knutson said his staff has also been dealing with the perception the flood was worse than what it ended up. Canadians emailed him wondering if Interstate 29 will be open. It didn’t help on a nation-wide scale that the New York Marathon closed its race last year because of Hurricane Sandy.

People wondered if the flood was going to do the same thing.

“Some people traveling from further away wondered what they should do,” Knutson said.

The reality: all systems are go.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia