Sidelines loaded with fun, oddities
A marriage proposal at the finish line left Krista Strand more breathless than the 13.1 miles she just ran. The Bismarck native was surprised to see her boyfriend, Scott Majkrzak, 25, who secretly flew from California to see her finish at Saturda...
A marriage proposal at the finish line left Krista Strand more breathless than the 13.1 miles she just ran.
The Bismarck native was surprised to see her boyfriend, Scott Majkrzak, 25, who secretly flew from California to see her finish at Saturday's inaugural Scheels Fargo Marathon.
Clutching the solar blanket she received for finishing the half marathon, Strand was caught even more off guard when Majkrzak dropped to one knee and presented her with a ring.
The 25-year-old blushing bride- to-be emotionally accepted the offer and wrapped her arms around her new fiancé.
A West Fargo native and former North Dakota State University basketball player, Majkrzak said he didn't make it to another race Strand ran last year.
"This year, I wanted to make sure I was here," he said.
He began making proposal plans three weeks ago and informed his family and Strand's family of his idea shortly after.
His dad, Bob Majkrzak, of West Fargo, caught it all on film.
"It was really a great surprise for us," said the beaming father.
The marriage proposal wasn't the only surprise on Saturday's race course.
Three belly dancers greeted runners as they passed Josef's School of Hair Design in downtown Fargo.
Maggie Peterson, one of the dancers, recognized a couple as they jogged by.
Peterson, a chiropractor from Enderlin, N.D., knew the man as a fellow practitioner.
"Lovely couple," she said.
Peterson and her co-dancers, Cherish Bauer-Reich, Fargo, and LeAnn Carlson, West Fargo, were showing off their Middle Eastern dance skills at the invitation of race organizers.
When the three began their sinuous moves around 8 a.m., they were chilled by the 36-degree temperature, Carlson said.
But by 9:48 a.m., the three had warmed considerably.
"You just have to keep moving," Carlson said.
A female runner who cruised by turned to a friend and said, "That looks great. I should learn to do that."
Music also greeted race participants as they approached the downtown Fargo Theatre, where the band Cosmic Kibosh pumped out rock songs below the movie house marquee, which read: "Welcome to Fargo marathon runners."
About a block away, a different rhythm was heard.
The sound echoed loudly up and down the street, but its source was difficult to pin down.
Any runner curious enough to investigate would have found Shonda Nettestad and her father, Chet, clanging on metal skillets, creating a mesmerizing, gong-like beat.
"I read somewhere in the paper that you were supposed to make a lot of noise," Shonda Nettestad said, adding their main mission was to cheer on her sister, Kristin Grommesh, running her first half marathon.
At the First Avenue North bridge in Moorhead, John Loegering was waiting with his two sons for his wife, Lisa, to run by when he spotted someone else he knew.
"Becky!" he called, as a young woman swept by, not far from the finish of the half marathon.
"I'm about to die," the woman responded, not stopping to say more.
A natural resources instructor at the University of Minnesota-Crookston, Loegering recognized the woman as a former student.
Loegering said he and his family were thoroughly enjoying themselves and he hoped the race would become a tradition.
"It's great to see Fargo doing this," he said. "You have 2,500 people who look like they are having a great time."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555 and reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5557