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What better way to spend Father’s Day

On Father’s Day weekend, Kevin Torgerson will run Grandma’s with his daughter

By Paul Christian

pchristian@postbulletin.com

There are those fathers who would just as soon not run a marathon during Father’s Day weekend.

They would say camping, fishing, golf, watching golf, napping, tennis, softball, anything — you name it — would be considered better options.

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Not so for Kevin Torgerson; he’s going to run Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday, which will be his 20th marathon.

Better yet, he’s going to run the 26.2 miles side-by-side with his 23-year-old daughter, Marissa Torgerson, who is attempting a marathon for the first time.

Father’s Day, remember, is Sunday and as an avid long-distance runner and devoted father, it doesn’t get much better than this.

"I didn’t connect Father’s Day with Grandma’s when we signed up for the race in January,’’ said Marissa, "but it’s pretty cool the way it turned out. My father is definitely the person who turned me on to running.’’

The Torgersons live in Stewartville. Kevin, 50, is a captain in the patrol division of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, while Marissa is a 2004 Stewartville and 2008 Luther College grad.

"My dad has been to every one of my races, in high school and college,’’ said Marissa, "and he’s the loudest fan out there. Those who’ve been to those races know that.

"I always hear him on the course when I’m racing, always. I know he’s there.’’

He’ll be there Saturday, too, but this one is different. Twenty-six miles is, well, a long way. And a rather daunting task.

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"It’s comforting knowing my dad is going to be with me all the way,’’ said Marissa. "I’m apprehensive, nervous, all those things, but he’ll be there to calm me down, I’m sure.’’

Kevin grew up in Kenyon (1977 grad) and wrestled in high school, but soon grativated to cross country and track, and continued in college at Golden Valley Lutheran. "I was too skinny for football and wrestling, kept getting beat up,’’ he said.

Marissa played volleyball at Stewartville, but also ran track and cross country.

"We’ve talked about running a marathon together for years,’’ said Kevin. "My son Nick ran the Med-City after his junior year of college (also at Luther), but he had a bad experience and paid for it dearly. He was nicked up most of his senior year.

"Marissa played it smart; she waited until she was done with everything in school. She just signed a two-year contract to teach at an American school in (Torreon) Mexico and she’ll leave here in August.

"So if we were ever to run a marathon, this was a perfect time.’’

Kevin and Marissa have trained together the best they could. The past few weeks have been challenging, though, since Marissa finished out the school year as a long-term substitute teacher in Decorah.

"I drove there a few times for some of our long runs,’’ said Kevin, "but she has put on quite a few miles on her own.

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"Right now, she’s nursing a hip injury and probably hasn’t trained as much as she would have liked but I’m sure she will do just fine.

"We’re not going to set any records, but we are going to have a good time.’’

A realistic goal would be four hours. On the other hand, just to finish is rarified air.

"This is a special moment for Marissa, I’m very proud of her,’’ said Kevin.

Those who have completed a marathon know how special it is to finish your first one.

"When we get to Superior Street (close to the finish), it’s going to be amazing,’’ Kevin said. "I already have chills.’’

No doubt it’ll be a Father’s Day he’ll remember forever, sore muscles and all. Marissa, though, takes it all in stride.

"I guess,’’ she said, "it’s better than having to send a card.’’

Page D4:Southeast Minnesota entries.

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