Local runner not letting painful marathon memories slow him down

FARGO - The full marathon, 26.2 miles , is not only a test of endurance physically, but mentally.

Thousands of runners will put both to the test on Saturday.

Only one way describes Ben Norman's relationship with running.

"There is a lot of things to enjoy, but I hate a lot of it too," local runner Ben Norman said.

Norman picked up running in college. When he’s done with his day teaching at Fargo South, he enjoys jogging. While running isn’t for everyone, it's the finish feeling that brings him back.


"My first three half marathons and full marathons was one of the best moments of my life," Norman recalled. "So there is a rush at the end."

But for his second marathon last year he felt a different rush …One, he'll never forget …

"I remember hearing something then I remember being in a wheelchair," Norman remembered when he explained his finish last year.

Norman was dehydrated to the point where he collapsed at the finish, but he hit the wall earlier in the race.

"First physically you shut down and then quickly after your emotions are like what's going on," Norman said.

Even after he hit the wall around mile 22, Norman drew inspiration from three letters, D-N-F, which means did not finish. Letters he heard earlier the week, when he told his class he was going to be in the Marathon.

"Only one kid out of the 60, I had, put DNF," Norman said.

But those letters wouldn't define Norman, even if he did just make it across. When he was receiving medical attention, he had one thought.


"That student's face popped back up in my face and I just laughed. I thought many things and then I was glad I just finished the race," Norman laughed when recalling the incident. "On monday I showed the video to the student and was like ha! The student said if only the finish line was two feet farther away."

Norman is used to persevering through pain, so he signed up again this year.

PHOTO: Ben Norman
Local runner Ben Norman runs through Island Park as he trains to run in the 2019 Sanford Fargo Marathon

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