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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 16 2013

Weather expected to be OK for Marathon

FARGO – Take it from a pair of elite runners: When it comes to running long distance, less is more. As in less running gear.

WDAY meteorologist John Wheeler said late Thursday afternoon that indications are the weather will be fine for Saturday’s Fargo Marathon with temperatures between 58 and 63 degrees at 7 a.m. and east winds around 5-15 mph. The problem could come later in the morning if the sun comes out, which could turn temperatures between 65 and 70 into something to deal with, like humidity.

“… It could get a little bit warmer and a little bit stickier,” Wheeler said.

If that happens, prepare for it, says Gina Aalgaard Kelly and Eric Loeffler, who both will be entered in the half-marathon. Aalgaard Kelly, from Lisbon, N.D., was originally slated for the elite marathon field until she had to be hospitalized with shingles and a staph infection. Loeffler has the second-lowest personal record coming into the half at 1 hour, 5 minutes, 55 seconds.

“I’m amazed when I see runners in full tights and a long-sleeve T-shirt,” he said. “Or a lot of times, you’ll see the long sleeve shirt wrapped around their waste.”

Loeffler said he’ll sometimes wear gloves and a cap early in a race if it’s cold, and then discard them along the way. Aalgaard Kelly said if a runner is in doubt what to wear, dress in layers with a throw-away outer shirt or know somebody along the course so you can toss a shirt to them.

“Especially in spring marathons, people tend to overdress,” she said.

It’s also important to hydrate along the course, especially early. Loeffler said he likes to take water every 15 to 20 minutes, which for him is every two to three miles. He’ll take six to seven ounces of fluids at each station, he said.

“I don’t think every stop is necessary,” he said.

Aalgaard Kelly says she likes to alternate between a Powerade and water. And if it gets warm, take both at an aide station.

“Expect the unexpected,” she said, “because 26.2 miles is a long journey. Some days go as planned and some days don’t go that way. My biggest advice is to pick your level of goal. For me, the first goal was to finish and the second goal was to get your pace to reach the time you want. If you’re not doing it, just stay positive and enjoy it.”

Wheeler said the forecast for tonight’s 5K also looks OK with temperatures around 60 degrees.

“I’m not looking for rain Friday evening,” he said.

Chances increase for rain overnight, and there will be a 30 percent chance of showers on Saturday morning.

“There could be showers around,” Wheeler said, “but the way it looks now, we’ll probably be fine.”

Now healthy, Loeffler

no longer a spectator

Loeffler is back on track after taking three months off of doing nothing last summer to deal with a bone spur on his heel. He called it a plantar fasciitis-related injury.

“It just healed very, very slow,” he said.

Loeffler qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with a 2:18.36 at the California International Marathon in 2011.

It wasn’t until this winter when training returned to normal. He was a spectator at last year’s Fargo Marathon riding his bike to various viewing points.

“It’s always fun to be part of a big event in the town you live in,” Loeffler said.

Virus derails marathon

plans for Aalgaard Kelly

Like Loeffler, Aalgaard Kelly’s training this winter was going well and she had her sights set on the Fargo Marathon, where she finished fifth in 2011. But the bout with shingles derailed those plans, and she decided on Thursday to opt for the half-marathon rather than the full.

“It was one of those things where you appreciate your health when you lose it,” she said. “But the doctors said because I was a runner and in good health, I responded pretty quickly. I decided to switch to the half and run Grandma’s next month.”

Post-marathon event

set for Saturday night

The marathon will hold its “27th Mile Party” at The Hub in Fargo following the Saturday events. A concert lineup of six bands on three different stages will provide the music that includes Silverado, Pop Rocks, G.B. Leighton and Firehouse.

The event is advertising carbo reloading at the “marathon buffet” or a “27th Mile burger” at Sickie’s Garage.


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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia