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Published May 17, 2013, 10:29 PM

From humble beginnings, Fargo Marathon grows to 21,000 participants

This weekend, around 21,000 people will head to the Fargo Marathon taking part in all the events. The marathon started back in 2005, and boy has it changed.

By: Danielle Miller, WDAZ

This weekend, around 21,000 people will head to the Fargo Marathon taking part in all the events. The marathon started back in 2005, and boy has it changed.

What started as an idea has now turned into a force that gains national attention. Race Director Mark Knutson had been organizing a half marathon for several years. 500 people would usually turn out and then in 2004 he had an idea.

Knutson: "I said to what would be our committee at the time, i just said lets do a marathon next year, and they looked at me like i'm crazy."

That next year in 2005 the first Fargo Marathon came to life. 2,400 people participated in all the events. The event started at the Main Avenue Bridge and ended at the Civic Center. The start and finish location was moved to the Fargodome back in 2006. Knutson was actually worried about that decision because he figured there wouldn't be enough runners to fill the dome.

Knutson: There's no way we should finish in here it's way too big and were going to look like this little miniature event down on the floor and that year we bumped from 2,500 up to 6,000 people.

Over the years the numbers continued to grow. From 6,000 to 9, to 12, and now more then 20,000.

Knutson: "In 2010 we had this big push to hit this 20,000 and we did and it's just kind of gone from there."

The numbers have gotten so big that events have had to be moved around.

Mark: "Our 5K was getting so big, just a lot of congestion inside the dome as the half and the full were coming through, so we put that to Friday night.

Looking back Knutson's most memorable was the one and only time he ran the race himself, not during, but after, leaving the Dome at 6:30 at night.

Mark: "It was a good way to end the day."

Knutson says he never imagined the marathon would become as successful as it is, and says the energy from the runners and fans is what helps him realize this is what he's meant to do.

Knutson says the key aspect to a successful race is strong community involvement.

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