The recent Fargo Marathon marks the 84th race of 26.2 miles or longer for Kathryn Lein, a pediatric nurse practitioner at Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota. Not only was this year her fifth consecutive Fargo Marathon, but earlier this year, she also ran her sixth consecutive Boston Marathon.
“I love the race environment,” Lein said. “While the Fargo and Boston marathons are very different from one another, they are each every bit as fun.”
While the events are very different — the Fargo Marathon usually has about 1,500 participants while the Boston Marathon has around 30,000 runners — Lein enjoys both events for different reasons. The Fargo Marathon is a flat course that twists through college campuses and along the river, but the Boston Marathon winds through the large city with challenging hills.
“The environment at the Boston marathon is special,” Lein said. “The city embraces the event and it’s held on a state holiday — Patriots Day. It’s a big event for the city, especially since the bombing in 2013. There is a special energy at this event. It’s really cool because this energy and the race is like the prize for all your hard work qualifying for the race.”
Lein has requalified for next year’s Boston Marathon and looks forward to participating in the Fargo Marathon next year as well.
“I love distance running,” Lein said. “My philosophy on races and training is to race to train, as opposed to training to race, because if I always have something on the calendar, then I have no problem keeping up the training.”
Lein encourages those interested in running a marathon to take the next step and sign up for local races like the Bismarck and Fargo Marathons.
“If I can do it, you can do it. So much of the training and pushing for those longer distances is mental preparation,” said Lein. “The 2018 Ladies Boston Marathon Champion, Desi Linden said, ‘Just keep showing up.’ I love that. Finishing a marathon is a huge feeling of pride and accomplishment and absolutely never gets old, no matter how you felt earlier in the race.”