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Registration for Fargo Marathon up 20.5 percent from this time last year

FARGO — It was several years ago when Fargo Marathon executive director Mark Knutson figured the growth of the event would start to level off. He’s still waiting.

The 10th anniversary is bringing big changes, and it appears the runners are in favor. As of last week, registrations are running 20.5 percent ahead of where they were at this time last year.

“Which is just killing me in a good way,” Knutson said.

If the pace of entrants continues, registration for the marathon, half marathon and 10K could cap out and close by the middle of the April for the May 10 race day. A price increase also goes into effect at the end of the month.

The 26.2-mile marathon has seen the biggest increase. So far, 1,422 people have entered — an increase of 35 percent from this time last year.

The event is going back to its roots with a starting line on Veterans Memorial Bridge between Fargo and Moorhead on Main Avenue. The 5K will be held Friday night and the Youth Run on Thursday night, as usual.

All events will be focused in downtown Fargo. The 5K, for instance, will start by the Fargo Library and end in Island Park, where the Johnny Holm Band will be performing.

The 5K course will go over Veterans Bridge into Moorhead and back into Fargo, utilizing Eighth Street South and Island Park.

“We’ve got some of the best parts of the marathon captured in 3.1 miles,” Knutson said.

It will be an exercise in organization for both runners and workers. The Saturday events will use a concept called “athletes villages” to help with crowd control.

The half marathon, for instance, will be based in Island Park with the marathon and 10K runners based at the Fargo Civic Center. All races will start at the same time, which could create quite the bridge picture with around 15,000 runners expected to be backed up well into Moorhead.

The marathon, half marathon and 10K will finish in front of the Fargo Theatre.

“This is a one-time deal,” Knutson said.

Knutson has received permission for runners to use several private parking lots in the area as well as the public lots. The annual Friday expo will be held at the Civic Center and adjacent Centennial Hall.

The marathon has been based at the Fargodome since 2006. It may return there next year.

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.