Being a spectator is a great way to get involved in the Grandma's Marathon weekend festivities, without having to run 26.2 miles. The enthusiasm from our devoted fans adds tremendous excitement to the racecourse and gives athletes the incentive to keep striding toward the finish line. So get out there and cheer your heart out!
While planning your strategy for viewing the Marathon, please keep the following important tips in mind:
The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon begins at 6:15 a.m. and Grandma’s Marathon begins at 7:45 a.m. (Wheelchair participants for the Marathon start at 7:40 a.m.).
No vehicles are allowed on Old Scenic Highway 61 (the racecourse) at anytime during the running of the Marathon or the Half Marathon. The expressway, which runs parallel to Scenic Highway 61, will be open for travel.
Traffic on the expressway is very congested on race day. If you plan to watch the Marathon or the Half Marathon from a point on Scenic Highway 61, please keep in mind that travel to the finish line is impossible due to traffic delays.
Parking on the expressway is ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED. Limited parking will be available on the access roads connecting the expressway to the racecourse (see Highway 61 below).
London Road, Superior Street and Canal Park are the most convenient places to watch the race. In order to secure a parking spot near these locations, you will want to get to your viewing location early.
Spectator Viewing Points
There is no spectator parking available at the start of the race. We strongly encourage spectators to find a location along the racecourse or at the finish line.
SCENIC HIGHWAY 61 (MILES 1 – 18)
There are a few access roads connecting the expressway to Scenic Highway 61. These are great places to go to watch, but please remember that traffic will be heavy and parking is limited. Travel to the finish line from these locations is impossible.
The following roads are accessible from the Expressway:
Knife River: Located near the 5-mile mark.
Homestead Road: Located near the 9-mile mark.
Ryan Road: Located at the 12-mile mark.
McQuade Road: Located near the 13.5-mile mark.
Lakewood Road: Located at the 16-mile mark.
LONDON ROAD (MILES 19 – 23.5)
Many spectators find London Road to be an ideal place to see the race because they don’t have to fight the expressway traffic. Parking on London Road is not allowed, however there are many places to park on the streets above.
The following are great spots on London Road to offer runners a little extra incentive:
Lester River area: At mile 19 runners will get a change of scenery as they leave Scenic Highway 61 and head into the beautiful Lakeside neighborhood.
Lemon Drop Hill: Located at the 22-mile mark, Lemon Drop Hill is one of the more exciting spectator points to watch the race.
SUPERIOR STREET (MILES 23.5 – 25)
Superior Street runs through the heart of Downtown Duluth and is so close to the finish line that the excitement is almost overwhelming. Once again, parking on Superior Street is not allowed, but finding a spot on the streets above is permissible. Please remember to follow all street parking regulations to avoid receiving a citation.
The following is a list of public parking lots and ramps in Downtown Duluth (fees vary):
First Street and Lake Avenue: Parking ramp located at the Technology Center.
First Street and First Avenue West: Public parking lot located next to Coney Island Deluxe.
First Street: Parking ramp at the Holiday Center located between Second Avenue West and Third Avenue West.
Second Street and Third Avenue West: Parking ramp located at the Government Service Center.
Michigan Street and Sixth Avenue West: Public parking lot located next to The Depot.
CANAL PARK / FINISH LINE
Canal Park is favorite viewing point for most spectators because of the close proximity to the finish line and Grandma’s Marathon activity area.
Here are some tips to follow if you want to be part of the finish line cheering section:
Parking is very limited in Canal Park. Unless you are staying at one of the hotels in this area, you will have to park in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) parking lot or ramp at a cost of $5 per vehicle. Please plan to arrive no later than 7:15 a.m. as access to the DECC parking lot is impossible when the races begin.
Many spectators choose to park on a street, or in a public parking area, in Downtown Duluth (see Superior Street above) and walk over to the finish line.
With thousands of people in the Canal Park area during and after the race, it is easy for groups to become separated and hard to locate an athlete who has just crossed the finish line. To alleviate stress, we have set up a meeting area located in the grassy area near the Marine Museum to help reunite spectators and runners. The person you are meeting will need to stand under the sign which has the first letter of either his/her first or last name. The signs will be labeled as follows: AB, CD, EF, GH, IJ, KL, MN, OP, QRS, TUV, WXYZ.