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JIM FREDRICKSON crosses the finish line during the Bismarck Marathon Sept. 18. He qualified for the Boston Marathon after running under the time standard mark.

Determined

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Ever since he started competing in sports as a child, Jim Fredrickson was always goal-driven.

That goal-oriented and competitive-natured attitude still persists in the 60-year-old Fredrickson today.

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The retired Detroit Lakes teacher and former track and field coach accomplished more in three days than most people strive for in a lifetime.

Fredrickson reached two big goals in a span of those three days, after he qualified for the Boston Marathon for the second time in his life Sept. 18, then hopped in his vehicle the next day and drove 12 hours to Wyoming, where he shot a world-record antelope with his bow.

"I always thought that you can succeed at anything if you put your mind to it," Fredrickson said. "You need to put in the time to accomplish your goals. My inner-competition has driven me and I've always had that drive ever since I've been an athlete."

He has had plenty of success as an athlete, as well. Fredrickson won the North Dakota Class A 220-yard state championship in his senior year of high school and he still holds the 400-meter dash record at Valley City State College he set in 1972 with a 48.8 time.

Fredrickson qualified for his second Boston Marathon after running a 3:53 in the Bismarck (N.D.) Marathon Sept. 18. He was six minutes under the Boston Marathon standard time of 3:59 for the 60-year-old division.

He also qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2005 and decided he wanted one more shot at the granddaddy of all marathons.

"I wasn't faster, I just am older," Fredrickson mused. "Although it was a less time requirement to qualify for the Boston Marathon, it's still tough. For me, it was a dream and challenge to qualify as a 60-year-old."

Only about five to eight percent of runners in each division do qualify for the Boston Marathon, one of the few races that require particpants to qualify.

Fredrickson -- who has run in 17 marathons -- endured a rough and tough training regimen leading up to the Bismarck Marathon, which included five to six-mile runs daily and a big 20-miler on the weekend.

"I get up around 5 a.m. and run around the lake twice," Fredrickson said. "In the winter, I would run with the wind and have runs from Richwood back into town."

The day before the Bismarck Marathon, the weather was windy and cold. But by the time Saturday rolled around, it was mild with no wind -- a perfect day for running.

Also, Fredrickson met his "Guardian Angel" during the 26.2 mile race.

"There was a woman from North Carolina running in her 37th marathon and she told me she wanted to run a marathon in each state," Fredrickson said. "I told her I was doing some praying before the marathon and my son Craig (who passed away) has been carrying me through some of the distances.

"So I ran with her and paced my race with her's. She was a pro, so it made my run that much easier and I ran with her stride for stride. I said to her she was my Guardian Angel."

With two miles to go, she gave Fredrickson a bump on the fist and proclaimed "You have it made!"

"I believe it was more than coincidence that I met her and the weather was perfect for running," Fredrickson said. "It just was meant to be. I felt there was extra help for me on that day."

After he crossed the finish line and had a good night's rest, he proceeded to go west in pursuit of another goal -- and he found it the next day.

Fredrickson inked his name in the Safari Club International (SCI) record books, after he dropped a gold-rated antelope in Riverton, Wyo.

The antelope's rack scored an 80 5/8 on the SCI scoring grid, which is now tied for 24th in the world.

The world ranking is in the bow class, as Fredrickson downed the antelope with his bow and arrow from 60 yards out.

"I didn't realize how large it was until my guide (with Wyoming Trophy Outfitters) started talking how big it was," Fredrickson said. "Boy, that was an adrenaline rush."

The girth of the antelope's antler base was the key to the high SCI score. It was comparable to a 180-inch white tail rack.

After Fredrickson's guides measured the antlers, it was easily a gold standard by SCI scoring.

"I was really stiff and sore, but the hardest part was driving the 12 hours to Wyoming," Fredrickson added. "Then I had to walk three miles during the hunt, which actually helped loosen my legs up."

Fredrickson will also have some company for his trip to Boston, with the marathon being April 18.

A couple of other runners from Detroit Lakes also qualified for the Boston Marathon, DL teachers Wade Johnson and Shan Manke.

Fredrickson added running is a sport anyone can do and succeed in, the only thing required is a little determination.

"You don't have to be a superstar to run," he said. "If you work out and put on your tennis shoes, I say you're already a winner."

After all the training and work, the hard part is over for Fredrickson, as well.

"Getting there is the best part," he said. "I'll be ready for it, but realistically, I won't be able to beat my qualifying time, because Boston's course is very hilly and Bismarck is flat.

"All I'm going to do is run the race the best I can."

His second Boston Marathon may also be his last one -- maybe.

"Who knows? I might try again when I'm 65, God willing."

If that is a goal of Fredrickson's, there won't be anything to stop him from nabbing that one, either.

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
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