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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 17 2013

Fargo honors Boston Marathon tragedy

FARGO – It’s hard to put the bombing nightmare into sentences, but David Corbett has done his best since flying from Boston to Fargo this weekend. In one instance, words weren’t necessary.

One of his first stops when entering the Fargodome on Thursday to pick up his race packet for this morning’s Fargo Marathon was at a large table where anyone is encouraged to sign a poster dedicated to the Boston Marathon.

“It was just really touching,” Corbett said. “I was shocked to see how many names were already on the poster. It was quite overwhelming.”

It was an overwhelming week in April. Corbett works at Marathon Sports near the Boston Marathon finish line, the store that was the site of the first bomb blast.

He wasn’t in the business when the tragedy happened – he was about a mile from the finish line – but he said the entire city lived in fear for a week until the two bombing suspects were apprehended.

“It’s hard to put into words. I haven’t talked about it much,” Corbett said.

As a runner who is attempting to finish a marathon in every state, he entered the Fargo Marathon about a year ago.

“Obviously the marathon has taken on new meaning to me after April 15,” Corbett said. “I was born and raised in Boston. Just the outreach not only in our community but from the running world in general goes to show how far of a reach it has.”

Marathon pacing group recruits special guest

Once again, Marathonpacing.com will have runners to help anybody maintain a goal. The small company will have 20 pace leaders who will run anywhere from 3 hours, 15 minutes to 5 hours, 30 minutes.

The pace runners are volunteers from all across the country, said Jim Crist, the founder of Marathonpacing.com.

“They do it to make sure runners have the best experience they can have,” Crist said. “They’re helping strangers who won’t be strangers after 26 miles and that’s where they joy comes from in pacing.”

In the half-marathon, there will be pace leaders from 1:40 to 2:30. The 2:30 leader, by the way, is a special guest to marathon pacing.

Ivan Castro was the special guest speaker at the annual pasta feed on Friday night. The motivational speaker was severely injured and blinded by mortar shells during the Iraq War in 2006. He was serving as a First Lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division for the United States Army.

“My first goal was to run a marathon, and doctors thought I was crazy,” Castro said Friday.

In six years, he’s done 28 marathons. He was asked by Crist if he would consider pacing a half-marathon group.

“I’ll be able to interact with all the runners, motivate them and take in the crowd,” Castro said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Etc. etc. etc.

• Thursday night’s Youth Run went off without a hitch with between 2,200 and 2,300 kids, said marathon executive director Mark Knutson. “The most successful Youth Run I’ve done anywhere in the country by a long way,” said master of ceremonies GP Pearlberg, who once again will be at the start and finish of today’s events.

• Pearlberg, an author and running coach, is back for the eighth straight year. “I knew I’ve been here for a few years when I walked into Gloria Jeans and they say, ‘Hey GP, nice to see you again,’ ” he said.

• There will be 49 states represented in the marathon, with the exception being Delaware.

• The final tally of route entertainment across the city is 30 bands and 20 disc jockeys.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia