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Great turnout for 81 on 81

West Fargo natives Darac Peters (right) and Briana Hartog make a break for the finish line.

The inaugural 81 on 81 Relay Race took place on Friday night and Saturday morning, with over 750 runners, myself included, participating in the event.

The race, put on by Fargo Marathon Inc., was an 81-mile relay on Highway 81 from Newman Outdoor Field to Hillsboro, N.D., and back. The legs of the race varied in distance from six to 8 1/2 miles.

The participants made up 92 teams, 58 of which consisted of six participants and 34 made up of twelve.

The relay exchange points were mainly in towns along the highway, including Harwood, Argusville, Gardner and Grandin.

Runners endured heat, darkness and even the North Dakota wildlife (I had an interesting encounter with a badger just outside of Hillsboro) in order to reach their running goals.

Sleep depravation was another challenge that runners faced, as many choose to stay awake through the night to cheer on their teammates.

"It was the most fun I've ever had staying up all night," participant Todd Peters said, "Where else but North Dakota could you shut down a 40-mile stretch of road for 15 hours and have people feel safe enough to run alone on it at night?"

Proceeds from the event went to Rebuilding Together, an organization for improving the homes and lives of homeowners in need.