Karen Bertasso-Hughes finishes first in women's division, 10th overall at Fargo Marathon

It's the second time the 37-year-old from Selkirk, New York has won a marathon, with Saturday's Fargo Marathon being her 24th attempt

Karen Bertasso-Hughes crosses the finish line in first place for the women's division during the Fargo marathon on Saturday, May 21, 2022, inside the Fargodome.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

FARGO — Karen Bertasso-Hughes was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Essentia Health Fargo Marathon on Saturday, finishing 10th overall and claiming the female division crown for her second-ever marathon win.

The 37-year-old from Selkirk, New York, finished in 2 hours, 47 minutes, 6 seconds to pace all other women runners.

Saturday marked Bertasso-Hughes' 24th time attempting a marathon. Her first marathon win came in 2020, the same year she ran in the Olympic Trials.

"I was just trying to get to that level again after the pandemic," Bertasso-Hughes said of running in Saturday's Fargo Marathon.

Bertasso-Hughes said crossing the finish line was a relief more than anything.


"I was glad it was done," she said. "The wind out there was a little tough the last 10 (kilometers), so I was ready to be done.

"The course itself was great. Everyone was super supportive. So just being out there in the lead and having everyone cheer was pretty special."

Marathon runners take off on Saturday, May 21, 2022, from inside the Fargodome.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Trailing behind Bertasso-Hughes and finishing in second place was Philadelphia's 29-year-old Kylie Pearse, who finished 15th overall with a time of 2:51:51.

Philadelphia's Samantha Roecker, 30, was 16th overall and third in the women's division in 2:51:52.

Fargo's Haylee Hastad was the first metro-area finisher in the women's race. The 29-year-old finished ninth among women and 67th overall in 3:16:45. Grand Forks' Elizabeth Pehl, 31, finished 70th overall and 10th among women in 3:17:59.

Bertasso-Hughes said the 23-mile mark was when she realized she had the race won barring any misfortunes along the way.

The course was altered multiple times in the days and weeks leading up to marathon day due to continued flooding along the Red River, making the event even more of a challenge to prepare for.

"There were a lot of turns," Bertasso-Hughes said. "I think they added more turns than normal, so it was definitely challenging."


After the race, Bertasso-Hughes planned on flying back to upstate New York, where there was a projected high of 94 degrees.

"When I get home, I'm sure my husband will have something planned (to celebrate)," Bertasso-Hughes said. "It's 95 (degrees) there today, so at least I got to escape the heat."

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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