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Husbands, wives lean on each other to help hit goals

One morning last December, Mark Rivard proposed a wild idea to his wife, Jennie. "Let's do the Fargo Marathon," he said. "OK," Jennie responded, unsure if he was serious. "Let's do the half marathon." "No," Mark said. "The full." Jennie, a 40-yea...

Jeffery and Kristi Schelinder of Colfax, N.D.

One morning last December, Mark Rivard proposed a wild idea to his wife, Jennie.

"Let's do the Fargo Marathon," he said.

"OK," Jennie responded, unsure if he was serious. "Let's do the half marathon."

"No," Mark said. "The full."

Jennie, a 40-year-old mother of three who ran in her first half marathon last year, was surprised considering Mark did not run.

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"I don't know if it was a mid-life crisis thing or not," Jennie said. "But before you knew it, he was running and dropped 10 pounds without even thinking about it."

The Rivards, who live in north Fargo, will be one of numerous married couples who will be running in today's Fargo Marathon.

Some, like Jeffery and Kristi Schelinder of Colfax, N.D., will run the entire 26.2 miles together.

Some, like the Rivards and Alan and Wendy Redmon of Greenville, S.C., plan to run most of the course together.

And others, like Dennis and Connie Meier of Rapid City, S.D., will split up and run their own pace.

Whatever the strategy, the couples have discovered that training together has made it easier to reach their goals.

"We love it and how it makes us feel," said Kristi Schelinder. "Some days, I might not want to go out running and he does, so we both go out."

The Schelinders, both 41, ran track while attending Fargo Oak Grove High School. Up until two years ago, they hadn't done much running.

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Kristi, who grew up in Moorhead, was interested in signing up for the Fargo Marathon training session. But because they use their one car to travel 30 miles each day to get to their jobs in Fargo, Kristi knew it would take a commitment from her husband.

"When I asked him about it, he said he would do it with me," Kristi said.

So at 5:30 p.m. most days after work, the Schelinders put on their running clothes at the Fargo YMCA and get their run in. On Saturday's, they meet with the marathon training group to get their long run in.

They finished last year's half marathon in 2 hours, 8 minutes. Their goal today is 4 hours, 30 minutes.

"He's a stronger runner than I am but we stay together," Kristi said. "Sometimes we hit a point where one of us doesn't want to go anymore, so we encourage each other that we can do this."

Unlike the Schelinders, the Rivards have children - ages 14, 13 and 7.

"I run when they are sleeping in the early morning," Jennie said.

And unlike the Schelinders, the Rivards' jobs take them to different locations. Jennie is a hair stylist in Fargo while Mark is an airline pilot.

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"Just the other day, he got his five-mile run in Des Moines," Jennie said. "Part of his winter training, it's not winter where he is."

The Rivards, both 1985 Fargo Shanley graduates, try to train together when Mark is in town. Today, they plan to at least start the marathon together.

"He is definitely faster than me but he has never run in a race before," Jennie said. "If he feels good, I'll just tell him to go."

The Redmons of South Carolina have been running since they were married in 1993. Their first marathon was in 2005. Today's marathon will be their fourth together. They schedule marathons as an excuse to travel.

Wendy, 39, said she is still trying to break 4:30. Alan, 41, whose best marathon time is 3:37, has slowed down to run with his wife.

"He did it to give me the incentive to do more marathons," Wendy said. "He found with the slower pace, he can do more of them. Plu,s it's a great way for us to spend time together."

The Meiers of Rapid City, now grandparents, will use today's marathon as a way to run through their old neighborhood. They lived in north Fargo from 1980 to 1993.

"It's a fun sport to do together, even though we don't run side by side," said 57-year-old Connie Meier, a Fargo Shanley graduate who is a nurse at a hospital in Sturgis, S.D.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said 59-year-old Dennis Meier, a Wishek, N.D., native who runs a small money-lending business in Rapid City. "We talk about running every day. We've met some phenomally nice people and we've gone to see some nice places."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

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