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On the home stretch

A world-class runner is returning home for the Scheels Fargo Marathon on Saturday. Fargo South High School graduate Andrew Carlson said Monday he's going to run the half-marathon. In January, he placed fourth at the USA Half-Marathon Championship...

Andrew Carlson

A world-class runner is returning home for the Scheels Fargo Marathon on Saturday.

Fargo South High School graduate Andrew Carlson said Monday he's going to run the half-marathon.

In January, he placed fourth at the USA Half-Marathon Championships in Houston with a personal-best time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 44 seconds.

"That's wicked fast," Fargo Marathon director Mark Knutson said.

Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya set the world record of 58:53 in early March. The American record for the 13.1-mile race is 59:43, set by Ryan Hall at the half-marathon championships in January.

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"I knew I didn't need to get mixed up in that business," said Carlson, who had no intentions of trying to keep pace with Hall. "I just ran

my own race. I had prepared hard and came in ready to roll."

Carlson shaved 36 seconds off his previous half-marathon time. His 1:02.44 would have been more than seven minutes faster than last year's winning half-marathon time at the Fargo Marathon.

"You won't see a 1:02 out of me at Fargo, but I still want to run hard," Carlson said. "If I'm running in Fargo, I want to run very well."

The 25-year-old is in his second year with Team USA Minnesota - a collection of elite runners who train in Minneapolis. He was scheduled to compete for Team USA in the World Cross Country Championships in Kenya on March 24. But 12 days before the championships, Carlson slipped on ice while training in Minneapolis and broke a rib.

"I was running at night and didn't see the ice," Carlson said. "When I fell, I just hit concrete. At the time, I wasn't so concerned about missing the World Championships because I was in so much pain.

"But now looking back on it, that was a big disappointment not being able to go."

Since the fall, Carlson has been training sporadically, with his sights set on running either the 5,000 or 10,000 at the USA Track and Field Championships June 21-24 in Indianapolis. He plans to compete in Europe after that.

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"The Fargo Marathon actually fits into my schedule pretty well," said Carlson, who until last week was going to watch the Fargo Marathon. "For the last two years, I've been telling people to go run Fargo. So I finally decided I should run it, too."

Carlson, a 2000 all-state runner at Fargo South and an All-American at the University of Minnesota, ran the 18th fastest outdoor 5,000 in 2006 among American men, according to www.usatf.org .

"I can't wait to run Fargo," Carlson said. "I've heard so many awesome things about it, I just wanted to be part of the atmosphere."

If you go

- When: 8 a.m. Saturday

- Where: Starts at Fargodome

Returning home

Andrew Carlson, a Fargo South graduate, will run the half-marathon Saturday. Here are some of his top finishes in 2006:

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- Placed second at USA 10-Mile Championships

- Placed seventh in the 5,000 at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

- Placed third at the USA 20K Championship

- Placed seventh at the USA 5K Championship

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

Andrew Carlson

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