In his first nine years of competitive running, Mark Amondson grew accustomed to running in inclement weather.
The Washington state native often ran in the Northwest rain. He also spent time living in Hawaii and Los Angeles where the weather can be wet, but also quite favorable.
More than a year ago, he moved to Williston for a job in public works. North Dakota presented some previously unseen challenges for the contender in today's BurliMot Half Marathon.
"I never in my life had been below 10 degrees and the first run I went on was negative five. It's definitely a different climate," Amondson said. "The wind chill here separates a serious runner from someone who just wants to get in shape."
Toughing it out in the winter could pay off for Amondson and the rest of the more-than-300-person field, which will run 13.1 miles beginning in Burlington and ending in Oak Park.
Race organizer Connie Feist said runners will join from across the state, the Midwest and Canada for the inaugural event, which is sponsored by Mile One Running Shop. Feist said a woman from Lakeland, Fla., will travel the longest distance to compete.
Amondson, 29, has run six marathons and eight half marathons. His top times are two hours, 36 minutes and 36 seconds and 1:18.56, respectively.
"I'm just hoping to run my best and just trying to win it," Amondson "If I run a good time all the better. I always go out there and do my best. As long as I have fun and don't take it too serious, I usually do pretty well."
The BurliMot is one of his final two tuneups before the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7. He will also run a half marathon on Sept. 15 in Bismarck.
Minot's Denise Austin is making the BurliMot a family affair. Austin, her husband Neil, her 10-year-old son Trever and family friend Tracy Hight will each run varying lengths of the race as a relay.
Neil Austin will run the first leg of about four miles, but will continue and finish the half marathon.
"We just kind of always thought it'd be fun to do it as a family," Denise Austin said. "Maybe if (the organizers) do it again next year we can do it again and maybe our eight-year-old can do it too."
The Austins did a 5K in Bismarck recently as a warmup for the half marathon.
"We've never had a race where they've done a half marathon with a relay," Denise Austin said. "It seems more family oriented when you can do something like that where everyone can participate."