VIDEO: Final surge gives Kemboi win in Fargo Marathon men's raceFARGO – The return to downtown almost provided a down-to-the-wire finish in the Fargo Marathon. For a 26.2-mile race, it was about as close as it gets in this sport.
By: Jeff Kolpack, INFORUM
FARGO – The return to downtown almost provided a down-to-the-wire finish in the Fargo Marathon. For a 26.2-mile race, it was about as close as it gets in this sport.
Peter Kemboi found another gear just past the 25-mile marker and outlasted Arturs Bareikis to win the 10th annual event. Kemboi, training out of Hebron, Ky., with the L.M. Elite Running Club, became the first Kenya native to win the Fargo.
Kemboi finished with a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 55 seconds, with Bareikis coming in at 2:27.29. With two miles to go, the separation was zero. They ran so close at times that it looked like they were practically elbowing each other. In the end, it was Kemboi who had the last word.
“I just tried to maintain my pace,” Kemboi said. “I had to slow down and then push it again.”
Phil Richert from Richfield, Minn., finished third at 2:36.13. He was never in the conversation with the two leaders, who led from the outset with Bareikis, from Crestwood, Ill., leading for most of the first half of the race.
Bareikis, however, didn’t go down without swinging. Kemboi made a move around the 21st mile and led for about a half of block on Fargo’s Eighth Street South. At that point, Bareikis said he took a
cue from the crowd: Don’t quit.
“It was motivating me,” he said. “I didn’t have any juice left, but the comments were, ‘You can do it.’ So I thought, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s make it a race for the crowd.’ ”
Bareikis caught Kemboi a short time later, until that fateful surge at mile 25. It came quick, in a matter of 30 seconds, for Kemboi to take a healthy lead.
“Every time I made a move he responded, and I knew he had that kick left in him,” Bareikis said.
He said it didn’t help that he drove 12 hours from Chicago to get to Fargo. He said he’ll travel to Kenya for a couple of months this summer to train, something he did last year. He said the hope is to return again next year and finish one step further.
“That’s always the motivation,” Bareikis said. “I was reading the article how Kemboi was the favorite, and I thought I could beat him today, but it didn’t happen.”
Kemboi earned $1,500 for the win, his second this year following the Martian Invasion of the Races Marathon in April in Dearborn, Mich.
“Very nice course, it was fast,” he said. “And the weather was very nice, perfect.”
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia