Flood cleanup forces race to run in two loopsFARGO — Dick Bailly of Fargo will celebrate his 50th career marathon on Saturday. If you’re a fan and you don’t get an opportunity to congratulate him once on the course, you’ll get a second chance.
By: Jeff Kolpack, The Forum
FARGO — Dick Bailly of Fargo will celebrate his 50th career marathon on Saturday. If you’re a fan and you don’t get an opportunity to congratulate him once on the course, you’ll get a second chance.
The Fargo Marathon route will take two loops, a necessity because of the on-going flood cleanup along the Red River. It will be a first for many veteran marathoners, who collectively seem to view the altered course as a curiosity factor.
“I don’t mind the idea at all,” Bailly said. “I’ve never done one like that before. There have been some with some out-and-back characteristics to them but never two laps.”
Bailly, 65, is one of 57 runners who completed the first four Fargo Marathons. He said the roads along his house on River Drive in south Fargo are coated with mud and when that gets wet, the footing gets dangerous.
“It’s like running on ice,” he said.
Like Bailly, Laura McDaniel is a Fargo charter club member who is looking forward to not having a long stretch of Elm Street to fret about.
“That last stretch of Elm used to break my spirit, so I’m wondering if this will feel a little easier,” she said. “A lot of running tips suggest that if you have a new course that you go drive it so you know what it looks like. It’s supposed to help you mentally because you know what’s coming.”
With the condensed course version, it’s possible the crowds will be greater along the 13.1-mile loop. If running the same course twice is a subtraction, then the added spectators could be an addition.
There’s nothing like a few helping hands when the legs feel like concrete at 24 miles.
“I think this is going to be more fun,” said McDaniel, the assistant vice president for university relations at North Dakota State. “I don’t know if it’s going to be slower or faster. It probably has to be slower but I’m fine with that.”
McDaniel said her only concern is the pace she is expecting to run is a popular one, meaning congestion could come into play. But Fargo Marathon executive director Mark Knutson said he and the course committee have had countless meetings with city officials to minimize confusion.
“Preparation is the key,” Knutson said. “We’ve always had congestion and I think if we manage it the way it’s set up now, it will be no worse than last year.”
Bailly hadn’t even surveyed the course as of Tuesday, but the importance of Saturday’s run is more about his 50th marathon anyway.
“Everybody has their own milestone and I look forward to it,” Bailly said. “It means something to me.”
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