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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 23 2014

Twigg makes the transition from running coach to agent

FARGO – For 42 years, Roger Twigg was either coaching cross country and track and field or handling the duties of athletic director at Crosby-Ironton High School in Minnesota. He’s retired now but certainly not out of the running business.

Twigg has kept his fix in the sport with the Twigg Sport Management Group as an agent for professional runners. You’ll be able to see a few of them at the May 10 Fargo Marathon.

“I like all aspects of running,” he said, “but I’ve really enjoyed the professional part of this.”

The business is a two-man operation with Twigg and his son, Cley Twigg. They like to keep their client base small to better maintain personal contact with their runners.

The group handles three former Fargo champions: Chris Erichsen and Sammy Malakwen on the men’s side and Ladia Albertson-Junkans on the women’s side.

Erichsen is a two-time marathon winner. Malakwen is a marathon runnerup and two-time half-marathon winner. Albertson-Junkans is also a two-time champion in the half-marathon.

The Twigg group has its hands all over the Fargo Marathon record book. Erichsen has the marathon’s best time at 2:19.55 set in 2010, Malakwen set the half-marathon mark of 1:04.27 in 2010 and Cley Twigg has the Fargo Marathon 10K record with a 33:17 in 2012.

Erichsen is the defending champion, but won’t be able to repeat because he is in Asia on a business trip, Roger Twigg said.

Erichsen finished third in the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, Va., as well as high finishes in a couple of other smaller distance races.

“I keep track of all that stuff,” Roger Twigg said.

He uses his coaching background to complement his duties as an agent, he said. He pushes the Fargo Marathon for his athletes, he said, because it’s a smaller marathon with a flat, fast course.

Twigg, 64, said executive director Mark Knutson is good about giving up-and-coming runners elite status entry. Erichsen, for instance, won in 2010 in his first competitive marathon.

“It lets younger, under-the-radar runners get in and do well there,” Twigg said. “Our commitment has always been to the Fargo Marathon. A lot of our younger clients who are first-time marathoners who want to run a competitive race on a fast course – we always recommend Fargo.”

As an agent, Twigg is involved in the race planning that allows a runner to peak at a certain race. It’s no different, he said, than when he was coaching – where he would train his team for its best season effort at the state meet.

He also handles sponsorships, registrations of his runners, negotiates for travel arrangements, lodging and helps find coaching if a runner is in need.

“In general, be a sounding board,” Twigg said.

The Twigg agency will have the following elite runners in Fargo: Andrea Rediger in the women’s marathon, Heidi Greenwood and Toni Kolling in the women’s half-marathon and Dan Greeno in the men’s half-marathon. Rediger, from Minneapolis, has a personal best of 1:20.35 in the half and is running her first competitive full marathon.

“This is a great business for me to get into and try to get young people who don’t know where to go as far as maintaining a pro career to do so,” Twigg said. “It’s interesting and it’s challenging. The hardest thing is to get new clients. When you’re a smaller agency, it’s harder to recruit new athletes and athletes and kids are like anybody: They want a lot, so they’re always thinking there are all these great deals out there. A lot of kids come in with expectations that aren’t there.”


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia