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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 18 2013

VIDEO: Exhausted at end, Porath prevails in women's marathon

FARGO – The crowd was roaring its approval when Nichole Porath was motoring to the finish line inside the Fargodome on Saturday. She took one step across the timing board, staggered and asked for assistance.

Her Fargo Marathon winner’s smile would have to wait for a while.

The Northfield, Minn., resident spent several minutes getting treated for exhaustion, the result she said of the sun coming out in the last six miles and the heat picking up. She said she started to feel some dizziness with 10K to go.

“So I was a little worried,” she said.

It’s not the first time that she’s needed treatment following a marathon and the habit has become a running joke with her friends, she said. But there’s no joking about her success.

It was Porath’s third victory since leaving her full-time job as a financial controller for Red Wing Shoe Co. and becoming a full-time runner. She competes for Brooks Running Company out of Seattle.

That reality hit her recently when some young girls treated her like an Olympic champion.

“It’s weird being that person younger runners look up to,” Porath said. “There’s more riding on it now to stay healthy.”

The 29-year-old held the upper hand on Minot’s Brittney Christianson for most of the way. The lead was 35 seconds at mile 16 and Porath never did feel her footsteps behind her.

Saturday was her 13th career marathon, and one of the most enthusiastic. She also ran Fargo in 2008.

“I’m not going to lie, the crowd is amazing,” she said. “It’s fabulous, one of the best I ever had. The course was flat and fast, although you had to be careful of some of the corners.”

Her plan this fall is to cut seven minutes off her Fargo time of 2 hours, 50 minutes, 55 seconds, which would qualify her for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

“Just living the dream,” she said. “I didn’t ever want to say ‘what if?’ I didn’t want to miss a chance at the Trials.”

Porath was a distance runner at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, Minn.

“I was not outstanding in college, I wasn’t an All-American or anything,” she said.

She’s making up for it now, getting $1,500 for winning. Christianson finished just over five minutes behind and got $1,200 for second.

“I want no regrets,” Porath said.