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After 35 years, sportswriter Kevin Pates retires from Duluth News Tribune

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Sportswriter Kevin Pates is a free man.

After 35 years on the job and roughly 6,000 bylines for the Duluth News Tribune, Pates is retiring today, according to sports editor Rick Lubbers.

Lubbers: "That (Pates) wrote for so long at one newspaper is a testament to the love and loyalty he has for the Twin Ports sports scene and its personalities."

Lubbers also offered a few stats on Pates. Most impressive: 35 years covering Grandma's Marathon and 23 years covering UMD Bulldog hockey.

Even better: Pates' daily quirks, including avoiding using a tape or digital recorder for intervews. Instead, he went old school, using a pen and notebook everywhere he went.

Also: Pates has completed 25 marathons over the years, breaking the three-hour mark more than once.

Pates didn't say much himself in his final blog today at Rink and Run, a News-Tribune hockey-running blog.

His bottom line: "Thanks to all for following the News Tribune and Rink and Run."

On his Twitter account, though, the well-wishers are clearly getting to him:

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