Bismarck Marathon 2015 – Race Report

Marathons: Paul #75, Leah #65 : Bismarck Marathon 2015
19th September 2015, Bismarck, North Dakota, USA
Finish Time = 3:42:42

Leah: 2nd Place Age Group (4th female)

Ah, Bismarck! During our 50 States in under 4 hours challenge there were a few States in which we didn’t hit a sub 4 hour time in the first time around due to various reasons. There were 8 in total. When we looked to repeat a state we always tried to find a different race to before, so that we either visited a different city within that State or to experience a different course / event within the same city. For North Dakota, well, there aren’t many options to run a marathon and the other main choice, Fargo, had been held in May. So we went back to Bismarck. We definitely felt a certain pressure; with no other North Dakota options, if we failed to get the sub 4 we would have no other chance to complete the State. We had to get this otherwise the completion of our 3 year challenge could be put on a lengthy hold.

Having previously explored the city it did mean we could literally fly out Friday night, run the marathon Saturday morning and then be back in Denver by Saturday evening. It was funny how familiar everything felt once we arrived, from packet pickup at the North Dakota Heritage Museum, to the starting area in the morning and the course itself. If I had been asked to describe any part of the course I would have struggled, but every part was familiar once we were back out on it.

At packet pickup they had a section where they were selling the long-sleeved tops from previous years for just $1 a top! A brilliant idea and we grabbed a few to use as throwaway tops when starting races. These came in very useful for the first few miles of the marathon which were a bit chilly.

Setting off in our bargain $1 throwaway tops

Setting off in our bargain $1 throwaway tops

Shortly after we set off we got talking to Charles, a fellow 50 Stater, wearing the club kit (he’s in the photo above to the right). After we left Charles and as the miles followed, we recounted memories from the same points in last year’s race. “Here’s where the swarm of mosquitos started”, “Here’s where that woman was shouting into her phone”. We had layered bug spray on this year and I’m pretty sure we smelled like walking/running citronella plants, but as it turned out unlike last year, we didn’t come across any mosquitos at all!

There were a couple of out and back segments where you see the lead runners heading back towards you and we noticed Leah was doing quite well in terms of female placing, however the first 3 females were definitely well ahead.

The sun had come out and we were enjoying the run. We came across our friend Kathy who we’d met at the St Louis run. She was running a great race and was leading the master’s age group by a significant way. As we pushed on she told Leah that she was now the 4th female.

We crossed the finishing line in 3:42, the same time as we’d run just 6 days ago at the Fall Classic Loveland Marathon.. in fact a few seconds quicker, and well within our sub 4 goal. We even tried to do the same finishing photo pose, although the photographer took it just slightly too early or we were too late. Leah finished as the 4th female overall and also won 2nd place in her age group.

What a difference a year makes: 2015 left, 2014 right

What a difference a year makes: 2015 left, 2014 right

At the finish they had a free vending machine with natural and organic snacks and drinks which was really good. We hung around a bit and talked to other Maniacs and 50Sub4 members.

Kathy on the left and ? on the far right, who we talked with at the beginning

Kathy on the left and Charles on the far right

The award ceremony wasn’t until 1pm so we had around an hour or so before that. We realised if we waited there for it, it would be tough to make our hotel check-out time. So we went back to the hotel, showered and changed and made it back just in time for them to start announcing the marathon awards. Kathy picked up a huge trophy for winning the female masters category, Leah got a nice jacket for her 2nd place age group.

Leah collecting her 2nd place jacket

Leah collecting her 2nd place jacket

Medals and smiles for a North Dakota sub 4 completed

Medals and smiles for a North Dakota sub 4 completed

After the race we looked up places to get some good food downtown and unknowingly we decided on the exact same place as the previous year. We didn’t even realise until we got there! It wasn’t a problem though as their pizza and homemade ice-cream was delicious. We thought it was even funnier when we were shown to the exact same table as last year and sat in the same places. Before going through the menu, the waiter asked if we’d been to the restaurant before, we smiled and replied “Not for a while…”


Leah's mention in the Bismarck Tribune newspaper

Leah’s mention in the Bismarck Tribune newspaper


Elevation Graph from my running watch:


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