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Glenn Pursley, Published August 24 2013

Brittney Christianson wins first women's-only race in F-M area

FARGO – An old saying states ‘home is where the heart is,’ but for Brittney Christianson, home is where she discovered her love for running.

The 270-mile distance from Minot, N.D. to Fargo didn’t stop Christianson from making the trip to participate in the GoFar Woman half-marathon Saturday, the first women’s-only race in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

She was the first to finish the race, with a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes and 46 seconds, nearly five minutes faster than Britney Pesek of Bismarck, who took second in 1:30:30.

“I’m just glad to come out here and run,” said Christianson, who teaches elementary school in Minot. “I ran track and cross country at Concordia, so this is home, this is where I fell in love with running. I wanted to come out and support a women’s race.”

Christianson got her first look at marathon running four years ago and ever since then she was hooked.

Back in 2010, the Walt Disney World Marathon was the first full marathon she completed in and finished with a time of 3:28:56.

In 2011 she completed the prestigious Boston Marathon in 3:14:37 and the Fargo Marathon the next two years, taking second both times. Last year she finished in 2:56:06 and in 2012 she finished it in 2:54:01.

Christianson is registered to run in the Walt Disney World Marathon again in January. After cutting nearly 30 minutes off her time over the course of four years, she’s going into the race looking to improve, rather than with hopes of just finishing.

“My goals have definitely changed,” Christianson said. “I ran my first marathon there four years ago and with everything that’s happened and my training, my goals are a lot different now going into it this time.”

Crossing the finish line in the back parking lot of a Best Buy might not compare the finish line at the Boston Marathon or Walt Disney’s Epcot Center, but the turn out of the inaugural event more than met the expectations of Christianson and race organizer Mike Knutson.

“I thought it was awesome,” Christianson said with a smile. “It’s so cool to run a women’s race in Fargo. I love the town and all the women’s support. It’s just great.”

Hundreds of spectators filtered in and out near the finish line to cheer on the nearly 2,000 runners who participated in Saturday’s half-marathon and 5K.

“The turnout has been fantastic, it’s a hot day, so to get this many people out is great,” Knutson said. “We were hoping for around 2,000 people and we finished just under that. I’ve heard great comments from the participants. People are just having a blast with it.”

In the 5K event, Amy Fredrickson of Fargo took first place in 19:52.

Due to some on-site technical difficulties, complete results are unavailable.

Half-marathon

1, Brittney Christianson, Minot, N.D., 1:24:46. 2, Britney Pesek, Bismarck, 1:30:30. 4, Wendy Weber, Detroit Lakes, Minn., 1:32:18.

5K

1, Amy Fredrickson, Fargo, 19:52. 2, Heather Garlie, Moorhead, 21:42. 4, Heather Swanson, Fargo, 22:03.


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549