Fargo's Medders goes from "old Joe Shmoe" to 13-time Fargo Marathon finisher

Medders has completed 26 Marathons across 14 states.

Jason Medders.jpg
Jason Medders rounds out the Fargo Half Marathon in 2010.

FARGO — It's not hard to find motivation for runners in this weekend's Fargo Marathon.

For Fargo's Jason Medders, his inspiration started 17 years ago, and started as just a small personal goal.

"I've just found that it's something I enjoy," he said.

Medders thinks of himself as the average guy. A 9-5 job in North Dakota State residence life, a husband and a father of six children.

"I'm just the old Joe Shmoe kinda guy," Medders said.


Nearly 20 years ago, he got the encouragement he needed to something out of the box.

"My wife and I had our son in 2005, and I looked in the mirror and said, 'I need to do a little better of a job taking care of myself,'" he remembered. "Laced up the shoes and went outside and went maybe a mile. Was really winded and felt not great."

It was progress, however, and it was something that sparked a new dream.

"Somewhere along the way I thought, 'By golly I'm going to do a marathon,'" Medders said.

A year later, Medders completed that goal with the 2006 Fargo Marathon.

"I finished and I didn't die," he said. "That was my baseline."

He felt dehydrated, and it was tougher than he realized. Yet his new hobby was found.

Since he went out for the that first mile run in 2005, Medders has finished 26 marathons across 14 states: North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Wyoming.


"I just enjoyed the experience," he said. "I enjoyed being out on the course and I liked being hard headed."

If you ask Medders about his races, he's quick to tell them he wishes he were a little faster.

"I don't even know if you'd call it running," Medders said through a laugh. "I like to say I participate."

Still, he's gone from the "old Joe Shmoe" to running Marathon's every year, all because of the love he had for his first child.

He says that if he can do it, anyone that asks him about how he's done it can achieve it too.

"It is wild," he said. "If they put in the time and effort, they can finish a marathon."

Zach Staton joined WDAY as a sports reporter in 2018. He grew up in Salem, Virginia loving any sport he could play or watch. Staton graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in Communication Studies before getting his Master's in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with a Sports Communication Emphasis from Syracuse University.
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