• YAF Races
    • YAF Youth Races
          • Our kids. Our community. Our future.

            A central pillar of the Young Athletes Foundation is providing free and accessible programming for our area’s kids throughout the year. These programs are focused on our mission of building and providing pathways to the community’s children in their pursuit of active and healthy lifestyles.

          • Wednesday Night at the Races
          • Saturday Morning at the Races
          • Whipper Snapper Races
    • YAF Programs
          • Our kids. Our community. Our future.

            Since its inception in 1990, the Young Athletes Foundation has worked to support the organizations and individuals of its five-county region through a series of kids’ events, grants, scholarships, and other programs that are focused on promoting and providing pathways for kids to live healthy and active lifestyles.

          • Grant Program
          • Running Shoe Program
          • Scholarship Program
          • Fit-n-Fun Run
          • Winter Challenge
    • YAF Volunteer
          • Our kids. Our community. Our future.

            Our tremendous community of volunteers plays a significant role in helping the Young Athletes Foundation to create memorable and successful events for our runners. More than 1,000 volunteers are needed throughout the year to support our fundraising race events for the YAF.

    • YAF Sponsors
          • Our kids. Our community. Our future.

            The Young Athletes Foundation was created to serve the community, and for more than three decades we have done that with the help of our local and regional business partners. With events throughout the year, our sponsors assist greatly in our mission of  providing pathways of opportunity to youth in athletic programs and encouraging healthy lifestyles.

    • What to See & Do
          • Authentic Duluth

            Don’t miss out on the authentic Duluth experience! Grandma’s Marathon falls during one of the most beautiful times of the year in northern Minnesota, and there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures or fun activities for you to enjoy with your family and friends on race weekend!

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    • Where to Stay
          • Authentic Duluth

            There’s nothing more important before the race or more welcome after the race than the perfect place to rest, relax, and recharge. With the help of our many lodging and hospitality partners in the area, Grandma’s Marathon is committed to making sure each of our 20,000+ runners, not to mention our volunteers and spectators, have a place to stay on race weekend!

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    • Where to Eat & Drink
          • Authentic Duluth

            Every year since 1977, our community has thrown open its doors to runners and spectators in town for Grandma’s Marathon. As the race has grown, the service industry has always been there with a smile to welcome tens of thousands of runners along with their families and friends as they descend on Duluth for race weekend.

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    • How to Get Around
          • Authentic Duluth

            There is so much to see and do in Duluth and along the North Shore of Minnesota! Getting there couldn’t be easier with our transportation partners. Whether you need to know where to find parking nearby on race day or you are looking for a way to get around town, we are here to help.

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    • Sponsors
          • It Takes a Village

            At Grandma’s Marathon, we specialize in bringing people together for an unparalleled running experience. Over four decades of careful attention to detail has earned us the reputation as one of the most highly organized races in the country. More than 20,000 participants travel from more than 50 countries and all 50 states to join us each June on the scenic shores of Lake Superior, and your message can be waiting for all of them when they get here.

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    • Volunteer
          • It Takes a Village

            We agree with our runners — we have the most compassionate and energizing community of volunteers. Every year, we host close to 20,000 participants and we couldn’t take care of them without your help. Grandma’s Marathon is a world-class event with small-town charm because of our volunteers!

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    • Donation Campaign
          • It Takes a Village

            We couldn’t do it without you, and we wouldn’t want to! The passion our community has for Grandma’s Marathon is what gives our race its small town charm, and the contributions you’ve made over the years are what allow us to keep improving the world class experience for our participants, volunteers, and spectators.

          • Read More
    • The Marathon
    • Annual Races
    • Young Athletes Foundation
    • When You Visit
    • Support Us

2022 Grambassadors

Registration opens for Grandma’s Marathon Weekend 2022 on Friday, October 1 at 7 PM CT. October at Grandma’s Marathon often feels like the start of a new marathon season even if our race isn’t for 9 months. We are back at full capacity for 2022 and we couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come.

We are thrilled to introduce you to our official 2022 Grambassadors! Our Grambassadors represent so many of the different groups that make Grandma’s Marathon special: seasoned pros who have run over 30 Grandma’s to newbies, people from Duluth to all the way in California, elites and back of the pack runners. Follow along on their training journey to get to the finish line in Canal Park and hear all about the different reasons they love getting to spend June in Duluth. Check back on the blog throughout the year to hear more from them!


Carrie Alajoki

Follow Her on: Instagram BlogTiktok,

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory:  Crossing the finish line at the 2015 half marathon.  The year prior, I was running the half marathon and at about five miles in I knew something was wrong with my hip. I was in so much pain and could barely run.  I managed to finish the race but was sidelined from running for months.  It took many doctor’s visits to finally figure out I tore my right hip labrum.  I had surgery in October of 2014 and was told I might not be able to run again.  I told my physical therapist, “no way am I stopping, I have Grandma’s to train for”.  I worked hard and finished in 2015, my first race back after surgery!

What is your favorite quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training/racing/life? You don’t have to be the best of the best, you just have to be your best.

Favorite Non-Grandma’s Marathon event:  Whistlestop in Ashland, WI

2022 Running Goal:  Set a 13.1 personal record

Rachel Barger

Follower Her on: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: JUST ONE?! This is a tough question, but I’d have to say Grandma’s Marathon 2014. This was my first ever marathon, after going to Grandma’s for years and watching my family members cross the finish line since I was a little kid. To make it even sweeter, this race came a year and a half after I was in a car accident that left me with a very shattered ankle. My orthopedic surgeon and physical therapists told me I may never walk without a limp again, let alone finish a marathon a year after my second surgery. After hearing this, I was even more determined to follow in my family’s marathoning footsteps. I trained through my freshman year of college, skipping the 10k, half marathon, and all other “less crazy” distances and went right for the full marathon. I will never forget the feeling I had crossing the finish line in 2014!!! And as they say… the rest is history. This was the start of MANY more amazing Grandma’s Marathon memories, and many more to come.

I won’t run outside if: It takes quite a bit, I’ve stocked up on running gear for all conditions (mostly because I despise the treadmill!). But maybe when there is too much snow for me to make it out of the driveway or if there’s a chance I’d get struck by lightning; I might make an exception.

Pre-Race superstition: I always cross the starting line on the far-left side of the chute, and I ALWAYS say the same little prayer as I am crossing that starting line.

2022 Running Goal: A 26.2 PR!!!

Noah Bitney

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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Running this past summer, where I was able to redeem myself on the Grandma’s Marathon course after an injury in my first Marathon here. Not only did I outperform my previous 4:09:52 Course Record, but I smashed my PR by 18 minutes at Grandma’s this year! It was my first real race Post-Covid, and it was such a great experience to get back out there racing again! 

Favorite Non-Grandma’s Event: Eau Claire Marathon #RunEC! I’m also an ambassador, and now a committee member for that race organization. 

Go to post-race beverage: CHOCOLATE MILK!!! 

2022 Running Goal: To FINALLY qualify for the Boston Marathon. I’ve got a long winter ahead, and it’s time to get myself into shape! 

Jim Boatman

Follow Him On: Twitter, Facebook- Jim Boatman

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Carrying my 11-month-old son across the finish line.  Almost 30 years later carrying my 6-month-old grandson across the finish line.

If I had to define my running with the title of a song, it would be: “Take it to the Limit” Eagles 

I Won’t run Outside if: the temperature is 30 below.

Favorite non-Grandma’s Marathon Event: Ragnar Minnesota.

Emily Buie

Follow her on: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Grandma’s marathon 2020 was my first ever marathon and first ever in-person race! The bar has been set high – the atmosphere and attitude of other runners definitely made me feel welcomed as a new runner.

I won’t run outside if: NO RESTRICTIONS! I have run in -25F to 95F and love every second of it.

Three Words to describe your running: Relaxed, motivating, and fun!

Patti Hallback

Follow her on: InstagramFacebook

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: When growing up, I was the slowest kid on the block. I would never have dreamed that someday, I would call myself a runner. But in 1991, I decided to join my brother in signing up for the inaugural Grandma’s half marathon. My brother laid out a training plan for me (on pencil and paper). I followed it exactly as written. And we were both surprised when I ran under a two-hour half marathon. Then I knew I was a runner. All thanks to Grandma’s!

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: “You’re doing the best you can!”  Note: this is the encouragement that folks in Ireland give to runners. I like it better than the standard “You’re looking good” since that isn’t usually true.

I won’t run outside if: it is 40 degrees and pouring rain.

Shannon Hogan

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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Finishing my first marathon. I never in a million years imagined I was the kind of person that could run a marathon. However, after visiting Duluth several times, driving on the course, and just feeling the incredible excitement around Grandma’s Marathon, I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl. I signed up right away in October 2017-then spent the spring of 2019 training for my first marathon. I remember going to the expo and just feeling the electricity in the air. The whole community seemed to come out in support of the runners on Grandma’s weekend. The excitement was palpable. I stayed at Spirit Mountain that night-and it rained like crazy. I ended up sleeping in my car because my tent flooded. The storms cleared out overnight and early the next morning it was perfect running weather. Arriving at the starting line I was so nervous, but also so eager to see if I could actually pull off 26.2 miles. I loved every minute on the course, from “Chariots of Fire” as we left the corral, to the beautiful (but foggy views) of the lake, to the college kids lining the streets of London Road, to the last painful miles up Lemon Drop Hill and to the finish. My goal had been to finish in 4:30 and I did it in a little over 4:12. I was ecstatic! Finishing a marathon was one of my life’s biggest accomplishments and has propelled me forward in so many ways. A couple of years later I moved to the Duluth area-partly due to the fact of the running community, trail systems, and the outdoor scene. I’ve run the Grandma’s Marathon every year since, and have completed the Great Grandma’s Challenge twice. I’ve run almost all of the other races they have put on, and loved each one. I’ve decided that 26.2 miles isn’t far enough and have ran a few 50ks since and this year I am completing my first 100k. Grandma’s has forever changed me as a person-I am more determined, stronger, and more resilient than I ever thought possible.

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Thoreau *I want to know that I got every last note out of my life.

2022 Running Goal: I have two-we’ll see what happens. The first, to qualify for Boston at Grandma’s. (I’m in the slightly older category now, so I feel like I have more of a chance). Second, run a 100 miler.

Shawn Jarvis

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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Running the Great Grandma’s Half Challenge in 2019. This was my second half marathon and the excitement of both races was beyond anything I could imagine.

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: Do or Do Not, There is No Try!

I won’t run outside if: There is ice, I am guaranteed to break a bone

Go to Pre-Race meal: Night before – Pasta with Pesto, Grilled Chicken, and Cherry Tomatoes. Morning of – Peanut Butter Toast and Coffee

Tanya Koneczny

Follow her on: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: The 2019 Garry Bjorklund half marathon. My training hadn’t been going well at all leading up to the race, so I decided from the start to just have fun instead! This meant taking the beer shot at mile 7, the pickle juice shot, and high-fiving as many little kids as I could. It was one of my slowest half marathons to date but by far one of the funnest races ever!

If I had to define my running with the title of a song, it would be: Complicated by Avril Lavigne

Go to post-race beverage: A large coffee cooler from Caribou Coffee!

2022 Running Goal: Run marathon #5!

Olivia Kusch

Follow her on: InstagramTikTok

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: When they put the foil around you at the end after the finish line. I felt so cool. I also loved the community feel of this race from the moment they push you through the starting line and you see everyone going down the first hill in front of you. This was one of the best runs of my life, truly, because of how they enabled so many friends, family, and fans lined up along the course. It makes it so much easier, light-hearted, and so much more fun.

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: Sometimes the hardest part of a challenge is getting started and trying. No matter the outcome, you either learn something about yourself or about the world around you.

 Go to Pre-Race meal:  Twix bar, fruit smoothie, and a celsius

2022 Running Goal:  Be faster than last time, and connect more with the running communities around me, since it was hard to do during Covid last year!!

Heather Larson

Follow her on: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: I ran the marathon in 2018, 10 months after having my first baby, and after a 7-year marathon hiatus. I had the BEST race I have ever run. The course was amazing, the weather was perfect and the event was SO well organized. I have never been so UN-stressed about race logistics. Grandma’s made it so easy. The race is big enough that it was competitive (which is great for me and pushing myself) but small enough that it felt personal. 

I won’t run outside if: It’s dark without ample street light! I live in a rural area and gravel roads in the dark make me nervous, so I’d much rather take it to the treadmill than risk running outside. I put in  A LOT of treadmill miles during the winter months. 

Go to post-race beverage: Blood Mary, please!

2022 Running Goal: I want to really focus on the half. I have never truly trained well for a half. My PRs have all been set in the middle of marathon training. 

Tony Loyd

Follow him on: InstagramFacebookTwitterStrava

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: In 2019, at the age of 60, I decided to reset my personal records (PRs). I honestly expected my PRs to be divided into “lifetime PR” and “over 60 PR.” I turned out that I set a new personal best in 13 distances, including the marathon. The June 2019 Grandma’s Marathon was a perfect, cool, calm morning. I ran a 3:19:11 marathon, beating my previous PR by six minutes, and beating the Boston qualifying time by more than 30 minutes. Wow! What a race! You can hear me tell my whole story of overcoming anxiety and living my personal best here.

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: You are here on earth to connect with others and contribute to the world. But before you can connect and contribute, you must first practice self-care. In other words, you must thrive. Thrive. Connect. Contribute. In that order.

I won’t run outside if: I’m good to go until ten below.

Three Words to describe your running: Run. Have fun.

Angie Maske-Berka

Follow her on: TwitterInstagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Grandma singing at the post-race party.

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: Forward is a pace

Go to post-race beverage: craft beer

Go to Pre-Race meal: plain pasta, no sauce.

Darius Moore

Follow Him On: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Partying with Destination Marathons, and a ton of charlotte runners who came along for the ride.

If I had to define my running with the title of a song, it would be: All The Small Things-Blink 182

Favorite Non-Grandma’s Marathon event: Chicago Marathon-It was such a great event that it turned me into a Cubs fan!

Three Words to describe your running: Faith, Strong, Inclusion

Lora Osborn

Follow her on: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: My favorite Grandma’s Marathon memory is the first time I ran it — I was training for a PR and to FINALLY break a 3:30 marathon… what did I end up doing? Tying my existing marathon PR down to the second! 

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: “Own the mile you’re in” — it’s a great reminder to stay focused where you are and in what you are doing rather than worrying about the future and what comes next. 

Pre-Race superstition: I don’t brush my hair… just throw it in a ponytail and go.  

2022 Running Goal: It will be my return to running after having a baby this past July, so I am excited to set some new PRs and get back to my passion. 

Alex Stolarow

Follow him on: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: My favorite memory of Grandma’s is doing the 40th-anniversary run and crossing that finish line to get my “Aerial Lift Bridge” medal.  As a kid, I spent countless hours at Canal Park watching the boats come and go, and to get a medal that totally represents Duluth and my childhood days was an amazing feeling.  

2022 Running Goal: To add at least another 5 States to my 50 State 1/2 marathon quest.

Favorite Non-Grandma’s Event: Tough to pick one but the Hapalua Half Marathon on Oahu ranks up there.

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: “Whatever you want to do, do it now.  There are only so many tomorrows” -Michael Landon

Lindsay Walter

Follow Her onInstagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Marathon 2012-my first marathon ever. The last mile when you’re coming into downtown and you hear the crowds of people, the high fives and excitement, and crossing the finish line. It was surreal and the best feeling! That was when I knew I wanted to be a runner and pursue marathon running! 

Favorite Running (& Life ) Quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us” Marianne Williamson, movie Coach Carter 

2022 Running goals: Break 3 hours in the marathon 

Go-to pre-race meal: all of the peanut butter bagels 

Caitlin Wachsmuth

Follow Her On: Instagram

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Finishing my first marathon! I was on the course for a long time and finishing the race was incredibly emotional for me.

What is yo Favorite Running (& Life ) Quote: “If your goal is anything but to finish, you’re not respecting the distance.” 

I won’t run outside if: It’s windy out- which is hard in Fargo!

Go to post-race beverage: Chocolate milk or beer

Michelle Ziebarth

Follow Her On: Instagram and Facebook

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: This past year was my first Grandma’s and the train ride was simply amazing! So beautiful, unique, and such a great way to get to the start line! 

If I had to define my running with the title of a song, it would be: The Climb by Miley Cyrus. Super cheesy I know but running is such an amazing sport and it truly is all about the climb! 

I won’t run outside if: It’s hot and humid! I can do cold, rain, snow, and sleet but the heat and humidity gets to me real quick, guess that’s the MN girl in me. 

Pre-Race superstition: I always have to set out my clothes the night before for every race. Last year I lost my pins and had people all over the hotel looking for pins for me. 

Fitger's 5K History

The Fitger’s 5K began in 1990 and over more than three decades has now become Duluth’s premier spring running event.

The 3.1-mile race traditionally starts and finishes in front of the historic Fitger’s building. The scenic race course takes participants through downtown Duluth and Canal Park.

Below are the all-time Fitger’s 5K race records and winners from each year. NOTE: Some early records are incomplete and our staff is working to retrieve those dating back to 1990.

2022 Fitger's 5K Parking Info

The Fitger’s 5K course starts and finishes just outside the historic Fitger’s Lakefront Hotel in downtown Duluth. They travel eastward toward 23rd Avenue East on Superior Street, London Road, and South Street.

2022 Fitger's 5K Parking Info

The Fitger’s 5K course starts and finishes just outside the historic Fitger’s Lakefront Hotel in downtown Duluth. They travel eastward toward 23rd Avenue East on Superior Street, London Road, and South Street.

2022 Fitger's 5K Parking Info

Free parking for the event is available in the parking ramp located next to Fitger’s.

Fitger’s Complex
600 E. Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802

2022 Fitger's 5K Race Packet Pickup Info

The Fitger’s 5K course starts and finishes just outside the historic Fitger’s Lakefront Hotel in downtown Duluth. They travel eastward toward 23rd Avenue East on Superior Street, London Road, and South Street.

2022 Fitger's 5K Swag Items

The Fitger’s 5K course starts and finishes just outside the historic Fitger’s Lakefront Hotel in downtown Duluth. They travel eastward toward 23rd Avenue East on Superior Street, London Road, and South Street.