Bismarck Runner’s First Marathon – Intimidated? I do not believe

Speaking from experience, the worst part of training for a marathon is…

…the night before the race. Whether it’s the 14th or the first – you’ll lie awake in bed worrying – “Did I do enough training?” When someone decides to run their first marathon, most people have a simple goal – FINISH! Not 19 years old (soon to be 20 on Saturday – June 8) Hunter Acker.


That was Hunter’s goal – to finish under 3 hours 30 minutes. I talked to him about two weeks before the Fargo Marathon. In the last 4-5 months he has run several 20 mile runs in training and has gone up to 22 in one day. Last year he entered the Bismarck Half Marathon and completed it in one hour and forty minutes. This is usually when the “seed is planted”…the idea that comes to mind about attempting a FULL marathon. “Does this distance scare you?” I asked him and with a rather quick, modest answer of “No” – I knew he was ready for the Fargo Marathon.

Another rule of thumb on marathon day

Another rule of thumb on marathon day is “If the weather is a little chilly for the spectators, it’s GREAT for the runners” – does that make sense? Drinking as much water as possible and avoiding dehydration is one of the main things you focus on – the hotter the day the harder it gets – the sun can really beat you down. I work with Hunter’s father – Rick Rider. All the while, he was amazed at his son’s progress and his commitment, however, like all parents, he was worried about how his son would feel after the race. I had no answer for that – it’s a brutal race.

“My mind felt different than my legs”

I’m no coach – I ran 13 of those and the only advice I had for him was to break that whole distance in your head – ‘look forward to the first 10 miles, then focus on hitting the 20 miles. score, then try to let your conditioning and mind take over the last 6.2 miles.” This is where you might hear marathon runners telling you that the race is only halfway over 20 miles. With all the long runs Hunter ran in training, he was treading uncharted territory—“My mind felt different than my legs,” he told me of how he felt after 23 miles.

“Only two miles to go…”

A runner hears this many times on the trail – but let me tell you, two miles feels like 2,000. Hunter had a full support team in Fargo on Saturday – his mother Mindi, his father Rick and his girlfriend Taylor. Encouragement means so much and they gave it in several places on the course. Hunter felt it from his family and many others — neighbors coming out of their house, for example. This is what it looks like when all your hard work pays off…

Congratulations on a HUGE accomplishment!!!!

Well, I’m going to say he smashed his 3:30 goal…….when he crossed the finish line in 3:24.



Now you want to see what it looks like about half an hour after a marathon runner finishes?

Rick called me at lunch on Saturday and asked if I had any advice on how to recover from one of these…not much I could say except “…an Advil maybe, rest, try to walk a little the next day. …” However, it seemed to me that he was recovering at a fairly fast pace 🙂

I’ll end with this…

For anyone who trains, for anyone who has run a marathon, there is nothing like accomplishing your goal – no matter what it is. Hunter is now eyeing the Bismarck Marathon, which takes place on September 22nd. I have one more thing to add… the SUPERBOWL of marathons is within reach…

The world of runners

The world of runners

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