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Car blocking 10K about the only hitch with Fargo Marathon

Runners in the full marathon start their race in the 2016 Scheels Fargo Marathon Saturday, May 21, 2016, finishing in the Fargodome. Dave Wallis / The Forum1 / 2
Dogs and their owners participate in the Fargo Marathon Furgo Dog Run Thursday, May 17, 2016, at the Fargodome. David Samson / The Forum2 / 2

FARGO—The number of participants was up. Nobody ended with a major health concern. The weather was nice. The marathon course got a two thumbs up.

Two days after the conclusion of the Scheels Fargo Marathon and all the events that go with it, marathon executive director Mark Knutson said "it's hard not to be overwhelmingly positive about everything that happened this year."

About the only hitch was a car left on the course in front of the Fargodome with the keys locked inside and the motor running. An announcement was made inside the dome before the start of the marathon at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21, and the half-marathon at 7:45 for the owner to move it, but it wasn't successful.

With the crowded 10K about to start at 8 a.m., Knutson said a decision was made to break the windshield and move the car. It turns out it was a woman who stopped to deliver the free Starbucks coffee to runners before the races.

"We waited as long as we could," Knutson said. "The 10K would have run right into the back of the car. We know whose car it is, we'll get in touch and get it figured out. There are always little things like that which come up and you have to react quickly."

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The race medical staff had to react quickly sending six people to a local hospital emergency room for further treatment. Knutson said all were released on their own accord. About 120 people were treated at the dome medical tent, which was up over the previous years.

"The medical staff did a fantastic job," Knutson said. "There were a couple of times I went in there and it was intense but they were very professional in handling everything that they needed to do. We had 12,000 people running that day and 120 is one percent and one percent in an endurance race when it is that hot is pretty good."

In all, over 22,000 registered for all of the events and Knutson said the Monday cyclothon and Tuesday Furgo Dog Run will return next year.

After years of tinkering with different courses, the marathon route was similar to last year and probably would have been close to the same if it hadn't been for road construction. Knutson stopped short of saying the race is real close to going to a permanent route saying he wants to see how the Second Street reconstruction and levie project in downtown Fargo plays out.

"If that comes into play, then we can get people back on the Main Avenue bridge," he said. "That's a great piece we've been missing the last couple of years because getting over there has been tough. It would be nice to run over it at least once."

Any bridge wouldn't have slowed down women's winner Semehar Tesfaye, whose course-record time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, 27 seconds is an A standard qualifying time for an United States Olympic Marathon Trials. It was the first marathon for the 25-year-old Fargo South graduate.

"I'm in awe of that performance," Knutson said.

Folks along the route also appeared in awe of wheelchair elite racer Jeff Muralt, who was pushing the lead motorcycle in front of him to some impressive speeds.

"He just owns this thing and he does it without competition," Knutson said. "I don't know, maybe he was trying to beat the motorcycle. I just feel bad he doesn't have another person to compete with and ride with him. Maybe we need to do a better job of reaching out to that community."

Jeff Kolpack

Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.

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