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This one's for you, mom: Local woman dedicates run to her mother, grandmother

Missy Larson is running her first marathon today. But it's not her race.

Missy Larson stretches before a run
Missy Larson stretches before a recent run. Larson is participating in her first marathon today and running it to honor her mother and in memory of her grandmother, Bernice Richter, who died at age 47 of breast cancer. She also raised more than $1,200 for the American Cancer Society. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Missy Larson is running her first marathon today.

But it's not her race. It belongs to her mother and grandmother.

The 34-year-old Moorhead woman is dedicating the run to the memory of her grandmother, Bernice Richter, who died of breast cancer at age 47.

Larson also is running in the Fargo Marathon to honor her mother, Mary Ann Schmidt, who will be on the sidelines cheering her on.

Larson said the race falling on Mother's Day weekend inspired her to add greater meaning to it.

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She's also a charity runner for the American Cancer Society and has raised more than $1,200 for the cause.

While training for the 26.2-mile run, Larson kept her grandmother in mind if she found herself struggling on a bitterly cold day.

"Thinking about what Grandma had to go through with chemotherapy, it made me think that my little side ache or legs hurting was nothing compared to what she endured," Larson said.

She also finds strength thinking about her own mother, who was 16 when Larson's grandmother died and left behind seven children.

"It had to have been hard," Larson said.

Schmidt will be cheering on her daughter, along with Larson's children, Parker, 9, and Madelynn, 3, and Larson's husband, Jason.

Schmidt, of Clitherall, Minn., said her favorite Mother's Day gift ever is Larson dedicating this marathon to her and her mother.

"This tops it," Schmidt said. "I don't think she realizes how important it is to me."

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Larson started running after the birth of her second child as a way to get in shape.

She has run four half-marathons in the past two years and has been training for the Fargo Marathon since January.

She fit her training into a busy schedule. In addition to being a mom, she works for Fargo MeritCare as a reimbursement analyst and attends Minnesota State University Moorhead part time.

Mark Knutson, Fargo Marathon executive director, said with the race falling on Mother's Day weekend, a lot of people were inspired to run in honor of someone.

That likely helped many runners stay focused on training, Knutson said.

"If you make a commitment, especially if you're running in memory of someone, you put that commitment out there and you don't want to let them down." Knutson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

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Missy Larson stretches before a run
"Thinking about what Grandma had to go through with chemotherapy, it made me think that my little side ache or legs hurting was nothing compared to what she endured," Larson says. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Related Topics: FARGO MARATHON
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