The Marathon Effect: Fans Get Inspired To Run

Jasmine Maki/MSUM Multimedia Journalism

With running, medals, music, food and fans, the Fargo Marathon is much more than a race.

It’s a challenge, an adventure and a party. It’s a time for camaraderie, a time to meet new people and make new friends and a time to set new goals.

Whether you experience it as a runner, walker, volunteer or fan, it’s an event you will remember.

Watching marathon lights a spark in me

In May 2011, I went to downtown Fargo to watch the event. I stood on the street corners yelling and cheering for each runner who passed. I was both overwhelmed and overjoyed to see so many people coming together to cheer for these runners.

As I yelled their names, which I knew only from their racing bibs, smiles filled their faces. And as each runner passed, I became more and more excited.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved running and have always hoped to run a marathon. Each and every one of those runners was my role model that day. I looked up to them and wished I could join them in the race. I didn’t want to be just another fan on the side of the street; I wanted to run. A full marathon was too much, but I knew I could run a half marathon if I trained.

So as I watched the race, it was decided: I would run the half marathon in the next Fargo Marathon event.

I began looking up training plans and increasing the number of miles I ran every day. I registered for the Go Far Challenge, which meant I would run a 5K and a half marathon within two days, and encouraged all my friends to do the same.

As race day came closer and closer, I began asking my boss and other runners for advice.

And in May 2012, I wasn’t just a fan on the side of the street; I was running my first half marathon.

(Left) Jasmine Maki finishes strong in the half marathon race. (Right) Maki stands with the three medals she earned in the Fargo Marathon 2012: 5k, half marathon and Go Far Challenge.

Fans get inspired to run

I’m not the only fan who was inspired to run in the Fargo Marathon after watching it from the sidelines.

Mark Knutson, director of the Fargo Marathon, said he understands the feeling.

“If you’ve ever watched the races, you get done and you go ‘Ugh, I should be running. I could be doing that,’” he said.

Knutson, who has seen the Fargo Marathon since it began in 2005, said he’s watched many fans get excited and motivated from watching the races.

“People have sat on the corner one year and the next year they’re running their first 10k or half marathon,” he said. “And it’s turned some people into ultra marathoners.”

Fargo Mini reignites the spark

As I watched the Fargo Mini Marathon in south Fargo a few weeks ago, I was once again motivated to run.

With a 5k, 10k and half marathon, about 2,400 runners made their way through the new routes this year.

I was there to take photos and cheer on the runners, but watching the races reignitied the spark in me.

Although my fingers and ears were freezing, all I wanted to do was run.

Photo gallery by Jasmine Maki

To see what fans and runners thought of the Fargo Mini Marathon, check out this Storify.

If you need some motivation, attend one of these upcoming races to cheer on the runners:

  • The Donut Run includes a 5K and 10K race beginning at 8 a.m. this Saturday in West Fargo.

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