• 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

27-time Grandma’s finisher hoping to run into remission

Maple Grove’s Tom Perri, battling prostate cancer, nearing 600 career marathons

With a little luck, Tom Perri will run his 600th marathon this spring or summer. He’s tentatively planning for the milestone to occur at Fargo on May 21. But that could change. Perri entered 2022 with 577 career races at the 26.2-mile distance, meaning he was 23 shy.

For one of Minnesota’s most prolific pavement-pounders, it’s not only possible, but probable. This is a guy who finishes what he starts — Perri came into the year with 2,252 career races overall.

Pretty impressive, eh?

Especially when you consider Perri is battling Stage 4 prostate cancer. The 60-year-old Maple Grove man was diagnosed in July 2019.

Perri has had to make concessions to the disease. His endurance isn’t what it once was, for example. But it doesn’t dictate how he lives his life.

“Cancer told me what I couldn’t do, but it didn’t tell me what I could do,” Perri explained.

So Perri runs, just like he’s always done.

Some of the more improbable numbers include:

  • 577 marathons, plus three ultramarathons entering 2022
  • 98 marathons completed in Minnesota alone
  • Five-time certified finisher of 50-States Challenge (one marathon in every state); he’s two states away — Maine and Vermont — from being a six-time finisher
  • Sub-four-hour marathon in all 50 states
  • More than 115,000 miles logged, which is equal to running across the United States about 41 times
  • Finished Grandma’s 27 times, the Twin Cities Marathon 26 times and Rochester’s Med City Marathon 24 times
  • Perri ran 59 races in 2021, including 42 marathons and two ultras

Perri’s favorite race? The next one.

“Because you don’t know what’s gonna happen,” he said. “I can run Grandma’s a 28th time and it will be different than the other 27 races I’ve done there.”

To run as much as Perri, there can’t be much time for training. Perhaps the zaniest stat from all this number crunching is the fact that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic Perri says he’d never done a training run of more than nine or 10 miles in his career. Instead, he trains for races by running races. Perri simply maintains his fitness.

And if he doesn’t feel good, Perri doesn’t run, certainly a key to his durability. But those days don’t come about often. One of his longest breaks was eight days in July 2019, for prostate surgery.

“I had to wait for the catheter to come out,” said Perri, whose personal best over 26.2 miles is 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Despite everything he’s accomplished, Perri hopes his biggest achievements are ahead of him. He wants to run a marathon on every continent and complete every major twice (Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, London, Chicago, New York). He hopes to surpass 200,000 career miles. He could become the first person to finish 1,000 marathons and 1,000 5Ks. The biggie, though, is becoming a 14-time finisher of the 50 States Challenge.

“That’s my ultimate goal,” Perri said.

Little goals lead to big goals. Perri has run a race on every day of the year. Because … well, because why not?

“When one goal stops, you start another one,” he said.

Perri ran his first Grandma’s in 1994. He can’t wait to return in June.

“Going to Grandma’s is like being back with my family,” Perri said. “It’s that small-town welcome, where with big races you’re just another runner.”

Perri has enjoyed watching this crown jewel along the North Shore morph from a tiny upstart in the 1970s, one that hoped to one day rival the Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Hurley, Wisconsin, into one of the country’s premier 26.2-mile races. It kept getting bigger and better.

One thing that hasn’t changed, according to Perri? The energy of the spectators, many of whom are determined to share their beer, bratwurst or tequila with runners. Perri loves the vibe that permeates Minnesota’s oldest marathon.

“That fun part hasn’t changed over the years,” he said. “It’s fun to see the spectators out there; they’re cheering for the fast ones and for the slow ones. They’re cheering you just as a human being.”

Perri has run a lot of races. And he hopes to run hundreds more. But none are more gratifying than the ones he’s entered as a pacer. Finishing a marathon is cool. Helping someone else finish a marathon, or set a new personal best? Way cooler. Which is why Perri is about more than just big numbers.

“When I pass away, I hope people don’t just talk about the numbers,” he said. “I want to be remembered as Pacer Tom, the guy who helped me PR or the guy who helped me run my first marathon.”

So Perri will continue to run.

Hopefully right into remission.

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.