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Fargo Marathon may cap number of runners

FARGO - Fargo Marathon procrastinators beware: Your decision to enter is probably coming faster than you think.

Continued and unexpected growth means all events may be capped by May 1, said Executive Director Mark Knutson. The sixth annual Fargo Mar­a­thon is May 21, with the 5K on May 20 and the youth run on May 19.

The current total number of runners is 17,512, with the 10K on pace to fill up by the end of next week. The number of race entrants overall is up 32 percent from this time last year, a number that surprises Knutson.

"I figured this would be the year we would level off," he said. "At this point, that doesn't appear to be the case. Crazy."

Knutson cites one reason being Runner's World magazine's award for "Best Race for First Time Marathoners." Entrants were received from all 50 states about a month ago, a goal that normally takes another two weeks to hit.

"I can tell you it's doing a great job from a national perspective," Knutson said.

Knutson has been told every local hotel room on the Friday night of the race has been filled, so Reed-Johnson residence hall at North Dakota State will be used for the second straight year.

It's a concept that has been used for years at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., which takes advantage of the University of Minnesota-Duluth dormitories. Unlike Duluth, the Fargo Marathon only uses the NDSU option when local hotel rooms are booked.

It's a measure to support the local lodging association, Knutson said.

"It's a nice benefit to have in the back pocket," he said.

Knutson said marathon officials are keeping a close eye on the slow receding waters of the Red River. Contingency routes are already being discussed, he said. The alternate route used after the 2009 flood will not work because this year's event will have at least 4,000 more runners.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at