Grandma's Marathon | Course Information

Grandma's Marathon is a point-to-point course run on scenic Old Highway 61 along the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior. The race begins just outside of Two Harbors, Minnesota and finishes in Duluth’s Canal Park. Grandma's Marathon is ideal for first time participants as the terrain is relatively flat with some gently rolling hills and a larger incline just before mile 22.

The course is USATF certified. Yellow balloons mark each mile and times are recorded for 7 hours (until 2:45 p.m.).

Important: Absolutely no early starters are allowed on the racecourse. Individuals in violation of this rule will be disqualified and asked to leave the course. No automobiles, bicycles, baby joggers, roller skis, inline skates, handcycles, hand-cranked wheelchairs, pets or unofficial participants are allowed on the racecourse.

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STARTING LINE: Grandma's Marathon starts at 7:45 a.m. just outside of Two Harbors, Minnesota. The wheelchair participants will start at 7:40 a.m. Runners will not be allowed to start early. There will be no facilities at the start for dressing.

Runners who have run a 2:25 marathon or faster should line up on the first starting line. All other runners should line up according to their projected finishing times on the second starting line. Walkers and slower runners must start in the back rows.

SWEAT BAGS: You will receive a Grandma's Marathon goodie bag at race packet pick-up. This is your sweatbag. A label is provided in your race packet. Please place the label on the bottom right hand corner of the bag.

Your official Grandma's Marathon sweatbag can be dropped off in one of the trucks near the starting gate. The bags will be brought to the finish line where they will be arranged in the front parking lot of Grandma’s Restaurant in lanes according to your race number. Volunteers will be on duty to assist you in locating your bag.

Please do not leave valuables in your bag and make sure it is closed and tied. Race officials are not responsible for any lost items.

TIME SPLITS: 10K, Half, 20M, 25M and Finish

TIMING: BibTag timing will be used for Grandma's Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and William A. Irvin 5K.

AID STATIONS: Aid stations are located at 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 miles. Water and POWERADE with ION4 are provided at all stations. Sponges are provided at 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 mile water stations.

CLIF Shot Energy Gel, the exclusive racecourse energy gel of Grandma's Marathon will be available at Mile 17.  For more information on CLIF SHOT Energy Gel, please visit their website:

Please do not stop at the first table of each water station, as this may cause runners to back up. There are plenty of fluids farther down. Runners can trust the fluids received from the official aid stations. There are a number of unofficial water stations along the course - it is suggested that you use discretion in accepting fluids from sources other than official water stations. First aid is available at the end of every water station.

POWERADE with ION4, the exclusive racecourse performance drink (Flavor is Blue - Mountain Berry Blast) of Grandma's Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, will be available at all aid stations. For more information about POWERADE with ION4 visit their web site:

Let the members of the Clif Bar Pace Team help you cross the finish line of Grandma's Marathon in under two minutes of your goal marathon time! Pace groups will be available for the following goal times: 3:05, 3:15, 3:25, 3:35, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:00 and 5:30. Sign-up at their booth at the Essentia Health Fitness and Health Expo or on their web site. CLICK HERE for more information.

SAFETY FIRST:Grandma's Marathon has traditionally been cool, but there is always a chance the weather could be reversed. If it is warm or humid on race day, please take special precautions to avoid over-extending your limitations. We are not responsible for race-related injuries, and runners will be responsible for any medical expense they may incur. Grandma’s Marathon follows the American College of Sports Medicine color-coded flag system to let you know the risk level for cold or heat stress. Please familiarize yourself with these flag colors; they will be posted at the starting line as well as miles 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25.

BLACK FLAG (Extremely High Risk): All runners should slow their pace, drink extra fluids and those with previous heat stress problems or heat stress problems or heart disease should consider not running.

RED FLAG (High Risk): All runners should slow their pace and those with previous heat stress problems or heart disease should consider not running.

YELLOW FLAG (Moderate Risk): Heat stress is less, but one must be cautious as the level of stress will most likely increase during a morning race.

GREEN FLAG (Low Risk): Risk is low, but once again you should be careful of symptoms of heat stress. You also need to be cautious of changing weather conditions.

WHITE FLAG (Risk of Hypothermia): The risk of hypothermia is very low, but still exists especially in slow runners or in wet and windy conditions.

RACECOURSE COURTESY: Please be considerate of your surroundings during Grandma's Marathon.

At the starting line and along the course be respectful of residents' property. Use the portable toilets provided at the start and along the course at the aid stations, rather than private yards or gardens.

Remember: emergency vehicles have the right-of-way at all times during the race. The police and traffic control volunteers have YOUR safety in mind, and deserve to be treated respectfully by runners and spectators alike.

Runners who have finished the race need to avoid interference with runners approaching the finish line.

Headphone Use

At its annual meeting in December 2008, USA Track & Field (USATF) amended rule 144.3(f) effectively lifting its previously imposed ban on headphones and other similar devices on USATF-certified courses. Because of this change, participants will be able to use headphones and similar devices during Grandma's Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and William A. Irvin 5K, but they do so at their own risk.

To enjoy all that our racecourses have to offer and for the safety of all participants, Grandma's Marathon-Duluth, Inc. strongly encourages a headphone-free environment during the running of Grandma's Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the William A. Irvin 5K.

The atmosphere along the Grandma’s Marathon courses is second to none. We believe your race experience will be greatly enhanced by having complete use of all of your senses. Running headphone-free allows opportunities to develop camaraderie with your fellow runners and to enjoy the various entertainment acts lining the course. Plus, thousands of enthusiastic volunteers and spectators will be cheering you on, helping to get you to the finish line.

Runner safety has always been, and will continue to be, a priority for all of our events. Please be mindful of the other participants and race personnel to ensure a safe and enjoyable race for everyone.