It will be a cold Fargo Marathon on Saturday, but manageable

Wearing the proper attire will be important with temperatures at the start in the 30s.

Ryan Bergh and his wife, Shanna, from Moorhead, gear up for the weather prior to the 2019 marathon in the Fargodome.
David Samson/The Forum
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FARGO — The first Essentia Fargo Marathon in 2005 had a temperature in the mid-30s with wind gusts up to 25 mph. Oh, and there were snow flurries.

So for all the runners toeing the line Saturday in the marathon, half-marathon and 10K, know it could be worse. It could also be in the mid-60s at start time with extremely high humidity like it was in 2011, which kept the medical tent near the finish line busy.

When it comes to running 26.2 miles, be prepared for all conditions.

“You don’t want it too warm,” said WDAY chief meteorologist John Wheeler. “You can manage a cold day, it’s easy to peel off a layer. Wheeler expects mid- to upper-30s at the start and the day will slowly warm into the 40s. The importance of knowing what to wear will come into play. One caution: Don’t dress too warm.

Wheeler, an experienced runner, likes thin layers, maybe wearing two, but not much more. Some runners bring a throwaway item like a sweatshirt to wear for the first few miles or throwaway gloves until the body warms.


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“The experienced runners, they know,” Wheeler said. “For the novices and people who don’t do this for a living, it’s probably a good idea to have a layer. It makes some sense to have a sleeve and maybe two things. If you’re going to do some walking, have something you can take off and wrap around your waist.”

Adding an element to the weather will be increasing wind gusts as the morning goes along. Wheeler expects 25 mph winds with gusts up to 35.

“It won’t be a terribly windy marathon day,” he said. “It will be a cold race. There’s a chance of a few sprinkles, a patch of mist during the day, but that’s iffy. There will be stuff floating around the area. I don’t expect a hard rain or anything crazy like snow.”

Crazy came in 2005. The marathon has been held seven times with temperatures below 50 degrees.

It’s not that world record holder Jacob Kiplimo

Jacob Kiplimo is entered in the men’s marathon and he may be the favorite with a personal record of 2 hours, 17 minutes, 40 seconds. But he’s not that Jacob Kiplimo.

The 21-year-old Kiplimo, from Uganda, is the world record holder in the half-marathon, setting his record last November with a time of 57 minutes, 31 seconds. In comparison, the Fargo half-marathon record is 1:04.27 set by Sammy Malakwen in 2010, still an elite time in amatuer racing.

It’s difficult to find information on the 29-year-old Kiplimo that is entered at Fargo because the other Kiplimo’s world record dominates the internet.

Moreover, it’s highly doubtful the young Kiplimo would run his first marathon in Fargo. After breaking the half, it’s likely his first marathon appearance would garner a large appearance fee.


The top women’s PR in the marathon among the elite runners is 2:49 by Karen Bertasso-Hughes, who accomplished her time at the Chicago Marathon. But it hasn’t been uncommon over the years for an unknown competitor to surprise the field, much less herself, in winning the women’s division.

The poster child for that was Meg Grindall, from Fargo, in 2006, who wore headphones and went out for a Saturday run only to be surprised when she crossed the finish line first.

Charter Club nearing single-digit members

Upon further inspection, the marathon’s Charter Club appears to be down to 12 members. They are runners who have competed every 26.2-mile race. Adding complications in the last two years was the pandemic that forced runners to do it virtually and the 2021 race that was switched to last fall for the same reason.

For the sake of the list, since it was canceled — although runners were encouraged to do it virtually — 2020 was not counted.

Five are from Fargo: Cindy Deuser, Laura McDaniel, Kendall Railing, Chuck Roos and Ben Thomas. Russel Croom is from Glyndon, Minn., and Dean Bloch is from Dilworth, Minn. The farthest-away member is Rod Van Hoof from Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Related Topics: FARGO MARATHON
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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