North Dakota was completely unexplored territory for me in 2009 when I signed up for the Kroll’s Diner Bismarck Marathon and Half Marathon. At the time, I hadn’t been anywhere near Bismarck or anywhere in North Dakota for that matter.
The race started at 7:30 am and it was in the mid-50’s then, so weather-wise, we had ideal racing conditions. The start and finish were at a nice park but the rest of the course was pretty uneventful and not very scenic.
I got a long-sleeve white technical shirt at packet pickup and at the finish was handed a pretty hefty medal with the race logo on it. Logistically, packet pickup was quick and easy and getting to and from the race were the same. The race website always has hotel discounts every year so check there before you make reservations.
My family and I found Bismarck to be a very depressed area with not much to do. I would only recommend this race if you’re going to be in Bismarck anyway and are looking for a good half marathon while you’re there. It’s not bad for a half marathon, it’s just that there are better ones out there in my opinion. South Dakota on the other hand, was a completely different story.
From my post-race notes:
“Ran much of the course along running trails that wound around a park. Was flat and had nice weather from start to finish of race. Sufficient water stops, good volunteers, sporadic crowds. Out and back course with a loop in the first part. Start and finished near a playground, which was perfect for runners with kids. Decent medals and long-sleeve technical shirts. Overall not a bad race, just nothing too exciting about it. My finish time was 1:59:00.”