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Illinois man, North Dakota woman claim Fargo Marathon victories

Maddie Van Beek wins the women’s half marathon race of the Sanford Fargo Marathon that finished in the Fargodome on Saturday, May 18, 2019. David Samson / The Forum1 / 4
Arturs Bareikis from Midlothian, Ill., wins the men’s full marathon race of the Sanford Fargo Marathon that finished in the Fargodome on Saturday, May 18, 2019. David Samson / The Forum2 / 4
Val Curtis from Minot wins the women’s full marathon race of the Sanford Fargo Marathon that finished in the Fargodome on Saturday, May 18, 2019. David Samson / The Forum3 / 4
Runners in the Sanford Fargo Marathon reach Minnesota State University Moorhead on Saturday, May 18. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor4 / 4

FARGO - Arturs Bareikis of Midlothian, Ill., won the men’s portion and Val Curtis of Minot captured the women’s race in light rain, cool temperatures and wind Saturday, May 18, at the 15th annual Sanford Fargo Marathon.

After taking the lead on the 20th mile, Bareikis spent the final six miles looking over his shoulder. There was nothing to see.

The 32-year-old made his third trip to Fargo one to remember winning the event in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 14 seconds. He finished second in 2014 and he was on a mission not to let that happen again.

“I came here to do one thing,” Bareikis said.

Winning was the only goal. He didn’t wear a watch and therefore wasn’t paying attention to mile splits. It was all about racing with a pack of four from the outset that consisted of defending champion Geofrey Terer, Anthony Kirui of Minneapolis and Garang Madut from Lebanon, Tenn.

Barekikis claimed the $1,500 that goes to the winner. Kirui took second with a time of 2:28:58. Daniel Borash of Barnesville, Minn., took third at 2:29.39.

As for Curtis, who trained in subzero temperatures, snow and blizzards this winter in Minot, conquered every obstacle in her way in taking the women’s division with a time of 2 hours, 43 minutes, 8 seconds. She reached the standard for the Olympic Marathon Trials that’s been the goal all along.

At 32 years old, Curtis is testament that athletes in long distance running can come from anywhere. She ran her first marathon in 2011 and Saturday’s effort was about an hour better than that.

“I had the best training cycle of my life,” Curtis said.

Making the training cycle all the more impressive is how she did it. She spent most of February on a treadmill. When she did get outside, she had to deal with winter in North Dakota.

“There wasn’t anything I wasn’t prepared for today,” Curtis said. “I trained through it all. The mental toughness of having to run miles on a treadmill the whole month of February when it’s negative 60, negative 50 outside; you can’t get work done outside. It’s not a place for a fair weather runner, for sure. It builds so much mental toughness so I was ready for today.”

It was her second Fargo Marathon finishing in 2:54.46 last year. She was over 11 minutes faster this time around in claiming the $1,500 first prize.

Megan Smith of Denver took second at 2:44.29. Ericka Mason from Fort Worth, Texas, was third at 2:48.16.

Former North Dakota State runner Maddie Van Beek of Perham, Minn., wasn't sure she was going to run the half-marathon until about a week ago. She signed up for the race last Sunday.

"I didn't plan ahead for it," said Van Beek, who ran a 25K in Grand Rapids, Mich., last weekend.

The outcome turned out better-than-planned. Van Beek took first place in the women's half-marathon crossing the finish line in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 58 seconds in the Fargodome. Her time was a new record for the race. Emma Lee of St. Paul had the old mark with a time of 1:17:36 in 2014.

Brendan Sage of St. Michael, Minn., won the men's half-marathon with a time of 1:06:28. Sage, 23, is a former South Dakota State runner. Sage said his time was a personal record by two minutes.

"Way better than I had hoped," he said. "I didn't expect a first place."

Karen Lavine of Shevlin, Minn., finished second in the women's half-marathon with a time of 1:15:42.

NDSU runner Brynnan Covington of Perham took first place in the women's 10K, crossing the finish line in the Fargodome in a time of 36 minutes, 42 seconds.

Ben Bruce of Waubun, Minn., won the men's 10K in a time of 35:54.

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