The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 21, 2013

Pair of Gusties shine at Fargo Marathon


The Mankato Free Press

---- — Brenden Huber got in on the prize money a year ago in the Fargo Marathon’s 10-kilometer race, and it felt pretty good. The Gustavus Adolphus College assistant track and cross-country coach was hoping to do the same on Saturday in the ninth-annual race in North Dakota.

“I knew I was in better shape this year,” he said, “because I’ve been really serious about training for (this June’s Grandma’s) marathon.”

When this year’s check arrives at his home in St. Peter, it ought to be a bit bigger than last year’s. This time, Huber won.

“The two guys who beat me last year decided not to come,” he said.

Huber won with a time of 33 minutes, 41 seconds, besting the next finisher by 20 seconds. More than 3,400 people participated in the 10K, which, like the marathon, ends inside the Fargodome.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “You get in the tunnel and come out to a crowd. There are stands on both sides, and the crowd is fantastic. It’s full of energy. It gives you a little burst for the end.”

A native of Huron, S.D., Huber ran track and cross country at the University of South Dakota, graduating in 2005. He has been coaching at Gustavus for seven years, and, with the exception of about one year, he has continued to race the whole time. He’s completed four marathons, as well as some half-marathons, including the 2011 Mankato Marathon’s half. He also runs on a racing circuit with a Twin Cities-based running club — on Memorial Day, he’ll run a 5K with that group — and even participates in the steeplechase during some open track-and-field meets that the Gusties participate in.

“I’ll jump in for kicks and giggles,” he said of the college meets.

For the last 3 1/2 years, Huber said, he has done some training with former Gustavus runner Nichole (Peterson) Porath. On Saturday, Porath was the top female finisher in the full Fargo Marathon. The Northfield resident and ‘05 Gustavus graduate was 10th overall and had a time of 2:50:55.

In January, Porath set a world record for an indoor marathon, completing 150 laps around the indoor track at the St. Olaf College fieldhouse in 2:57:34, which was more than 10 minutes faster than the previous record. In 2012, she participated in the Olympic Trials for marathon in Houston, finishing 69th of 180 runners with a personal best time of 2:44:12.

Huber was part of Porath’s entourage in Houston and said she is already aiming for the 2016 Trials.

Perhaps it was the running coach coming out and not the runner talking, but Huber sounded more excited about his friend’s race on Saturday than his own.

“Her running career has just been phenomenal,” Huber said. “She just gets better and better.”

According to her blog (nicholerunning.blogspot.com), Porath, 29, quit her job as a finance manager at Red Wing Shoe Company earlier this year to become a full-time, professional runner. She competes for the Seattle-based Brooks running team.

“Just living the dream,” she told Fargo’s newspaper, The Forum, on Saturday.

As for Huber, he’ll settle for that prize money from the 10K.

Shane Frederick is a Free Press staff writer. Read his blog at mankatofreepresshockey.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter @puckato.