Run the Marathon. Just not the race.

Thanks so much for your interest in volunteering with Grandma’s Marathon!

There is a reason we are celebrating 42 years – it’s because of our amazing volunteers! Runners know when they come to Grandma’s Marathon it’s a different experience. “They take care of you!” It is a theme that echoes across 4 decades of a community coming together to do something extraordinary.

You make all the difference. You make us great. Thank you.

We’re excited to have you join us! Both individuals and groups can sign-up by emailing Tara@GrandmasMarathon.com. If you have any additional questions, please call the Grandma’s Marathon Office 218-727-0947 or send an email.

We need volunteers in the following areas:

  • Water stations
  • Traffic and spectator control
  • Finish area activities
  • Racecourse entertainment
  • Medical services

Every volunteer will receive:

  • An official Grandma’s Marathon T-shirt
  • Refreshment tickets
  • Invitation to the special Grandma’s Marathon Volunteer Appreciation Party

Volunteer Testimonial
“What I loved about volunteering at the finish line was to see the strength of the athletes there at the end. It is an amazing thing that our bodies can go that distance and survive. I liked being the one who ‘still had some energy left’ to help them complete the process by getting gear bags, t shirts, water, etc. for the runners.”
-Pat W., 2016 Finish Line Volunteer

“What I enjoy most about volunteering for the water station is seeing the other side of the race- after having participated in it as a runner for two years, I switched over to more trail running but still wanted to be a part of the fun atmosphere and camaraderie that goes on for those who run the race ‘behind the scenes’.  It is so much fun to watch everyone’s hard work pay off while handing out water and know I can be helping them reach their goals one step at a time as they get closer and closer to the finish!” 
~Kaelyn W., 2016 Water Aid Station Volunteer

Don Fennessy Volunteer of the Year Award

The Don Fennessy Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to an individual or group of individuals who have donated a tremendous amount of time volunteering for Grandma’s Marathon and in doing so have assisted in the smooth and successful operation of the event.


1985 – Ray Paavola, captain of the 17-mile water station since 1977

1986 – John Leppi, founding father of Grandma’s Marathon and captain of the 5-mile water station

1987 – Taire Lind, captain of the 23-mile water station since 1983

1988 – Candy Furo, runner registration packets and helps out at the finish line

1989 – Eric & Amy Kaiser, finish line first aid team

1990 – Seitz Family, co-captains of the 8-mile water station

1990 – Dr. Jerry Church, Grandma’s Marathon starting line director

1991 – Ken Docteur, captain of the 3-mile water station

1992 – Herb Dillon, medical team captain

1993 – Ken and Mona Rae Cich, water station captain and race course services

1994 – Arrowhead Radio Amateur Club

1995 – Jan DeRoche, Hospitality Committee member

1996 – Bruce & Colleen Hasforth, race course volunteers

1997 – Don & Ella Fennessy, board member and volunteers at all Grandma’s Marathon events

1998 – Proctor Community Band and Mr. Moody’s Marching Band

1999 – Durbin Keeney, coordinator of the sweat bag pick up area

2000 – Chelly Ferguson, chute captain and chip recovery captain

2001 – Buck Mc Donald, traffic control on the racecourse (6-mile mark)

2002 – David and Jill Hisdahl, traffic control on the racecourse (19-mile mark)

2003 – Sue Bussa, medical team captain

2004 – Carol Gallinger, Hospitality Committee member

2005 – Barb and Terry Davis, finish line information tent captains

2006 – Lyle Johnson, traffic control on the racecourse

2007 – Steve & Joyce Lent, finish line

2008 – Brock Pelzel, water station volunteer recruiter

2009 – Woodland Hills

2010 – John Herbertz, racecourse entertainer

2011 – Jock Glendenning, racecourse entertainer

2012 – College of St. Scholastica, traffic control on the racecourse

2013 – Al & Jan Swanson

2014 – Marge Swor & Family

2015 – Cheryl Fosdick

2016 – Ellen & Wally Johnson

2017 – Geri Peterson

Marsh Nelson Media Award

This award is given annually to a media representative to recognize his or her commitment to the coverage and development of Grandma’s Marathon. It is named in memory of former KDLH-TV sports director Marsh Nelson for his tremendous passion for covering Grandma’s Marathon and other local athletic events.


2000 – Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune & The Family of Marsh Nelson

2001 – Kerry Rodd, KDAL Radio

2002 – Family of Bruce Bennett, Duluth News Tribune

2003 – Bob Rich, KBJR Channel 6

2004 – Bruce Brothers, St. Paul Pioneer Press

2005 – Rik Jordan, KDAL Radio

2006 – Chuck Curtis, Duluth News Tribune

2007 – Barbara Reyelts, Northland’s NewsCenter

2008 – Tom Hansen, Northland’s NewsCenter

2009 – Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune

2010 – Dave Jensch, Northland’s NewsCenter

2011 – Running Times Magazine

2012 – Pat Cadigan, KDAL Radio

2013 – Dan Moller, Duluth News Tribune

2014 – Marathon & Beyond

2015 – Townsquare Media

2016 – Bob King, Duluth News Tribune

2017 – Howie Hanson, HowieHanson.com

Ron Daws Ambassador Award

The Ron Daws Ambassador Award is presented to an individual who has been a leader in the development and growth of long distance running and who has shared a commitment to be an ambassador of Grandma’s Marathon and the City of Duluth.


1993 – Alex Ratelle

1994 – Dorothy Spencer

1995 – Dick Beardsley

1996 – Garry Bjorklund

1997 – Doug Kurtis

1998 – Kerry Rodd

1999 – John Goldfine

2000 – Rob Link

2001 – Richard E. Braun

2002 – Terry Lundberg

2003 – Bill Andberg

2004 – Kelly Keeler

2005 – Ed Hermel

2006 – Dan “Digger” Carlson

2007 – Doris Windsand-Dausman

2008 – Carolyn Mather

2009 – Dr. James Kirkham

2010 – Martha Firling

2011 – Gloria Jansen

2012 – Jon Anderson

2013 – Huck Andresen

2014 – Joanie Holst

2015 – Michael Pinocci and Peter Graves

2016 – Brian Larson

2017 – Austin Jarrow Sports

About Ron Daws

Ron Daws is truly an inspiration to the sport of running. The Minnesota native represented the United States in the marathon at the 1968 Olympic games and finished in 22nd place. Through his dedicated efforts he was extremely instrumental in the development of road racing in Minnesota, and was inducted into the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame in 1986.

Ron is not only remembered for the success he achieved as an athlete, but is also recognized nationwide as a runner who gave back to the sport. Ron was a great ambassador to Grandma’s Marathon and the City of Duluth. His legacy has encouraged many to focus on the continued development of long distance running.

Rudy Perpich Public Service Award

This award, named after the late Minnesota governor who was a large supporter of the annual event, is given annually to up to three current or former public employees or elected officials.

In 2006, Grandma’s Marathon created the Rudy Perpich Public Service Award to recognize the many current or former public employees and elected officials who have exhibited dedication and service to the event.

For more information or to submit a nomination for the 2017 Rudy Perpich Public Service Award, please contact kate@grandmasmarathon.com



Bob Brandt, Lake County Highway Department

Richard Hansen, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Lenore Johnson, Lake County Board of Commissioners


Helene Abbott, Duluth Police Department

Roberta Dwyer, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Jim Gorny, City of Duluth


William Amberg, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Bob Troolin, City of Duluth

Mark Wick, Duluth Police Department


Sharon Montgomery, Duluth Police Department

Doug Nelson, City of Duluth

Jim Miles, Minnesota Department of Transportation


Ed Moroney, Duluth Police Department

Kent Lunda, St. Louis County

Al Goodman, Lake County


Scott Collver, Minnesota Department of Transportation

John Foschi, former Proctor City administrator

George Lewis, Retired City of Duluth Parks maintenance foreman


Steve Anderson, St. Louis County

Gary Doty, City of Duluth, former mayor

Paul Scanlan, City of Duluth, retired


Tom Ehle, City of Duluth Police Department, retired

Brad Miller, Minnesota Department of Transportation

John Schlangen, Lake County Highway Department


Jim Benning, City of Duluth

Bob LeDoux, City of Duluth

Earl Stewart, City of Duluth


Kevin Hakala, City of Duluth

Brad Wick, Duluth Police Department

Shawn McGovern, City of Proctor and City of Duluth


Don Ness, City of Duluth, former mayor

Roger Reinert, Minnesota State Senator


Erik Rish, Duluth Police Department

Kevin Gray, St. Louis County

Verizon Wireless Award of Excellence

This award is presented to an individual who has shown many years of dedication, commitment and service to the development and growth of Grandma’s Marathon.


2001 – Chester Keenan, longtime volunteer

2002 – Mike Krois, bus transportation coordinator

2003 – Tom Ehle, Duluth police officer/Head of marathon security

2004 – Dan Russell, Executive Director of DECC

2005 – Gert Belsvick, spaghetti dinner coordinator

2006 – Marian Holmes, race packet pickup volunteer

2007 – Leah Hulst & Sandy Brennan, “Grandma,” the Grandma’s Marathon finish line mascot

2008 – Jeff Frey, official photographer

2009 – Sue Bussa, longtime medical tent captain

2010 – Spirit Mountain Ski Patrol, finish line medical team assistants

2011 – David Bridges, provider of finish line sound system

2012 – Chris & Stephanie LaFleur, racecourse services volunteers

2013 – Duane Madison

2014 – Gordy Anderson and Mike Persing

2015 – Upper Lakes Foods

2016 – Kathy Bauer, Verizon Wireless

2017 – Jeff Foster Trucking