• 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.

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

Behind the Scenes at Grandma’s Marathon

October feels like the start of a new year here at Grandma’s Marathon with registration opening and our event season wrapping up. It’s one of the those deceptively busy times where you think everything should be easy going but our office is almost at marathon weekend levels of chaos. These are some of the highlights of what our team has been up to the last month (yes, all nine of us work full-time, 12 months a year. Organizing a 20,000 person weekend takes a lot of planning).

Registration Open – October 1

October 1 is one of my favorite fake holidays — Grandma’s Marathon registration day! Seeing 8,000+ people sign up for your event in the first 24 hours makes us all excited for what is to come in the next nine months. While some of our staff were down in the Twin Cities helping with their marathon, the rest of us spent the evening in the office making sure the website didn’t crash and feeling your excitement through social media. We’re very excited to be planning a full capacity event for June 2022 and getting back to some sense of normalcy. You’ll have to stay tuned to see how all our plans come together to make it the best Grandma’s Marathon weekend yet.

Our half marathon capacity did increase to 8,000 runners, but the Garry Bjorklund is officially sold out for 2022. Spots are still available through our Charity PartnersGreat Grandma’s Challenge, and our Guaranteed Two-Year Entry Program.

Expos – Twin Cities Marathon & Chicago Marathon

We love getting to see our past (and future) participants at expos. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, we made some new friends from all over the country and the world who are interested in running Grandma’s Marathon at some point.

Our race director Greg Haapala helped out at the Twin Cities Marathon (TCM) setting up their start line and in their race command center. His wife Kelli works for TCM so he is somewhat obligated, but we think he might enjoy it. Still up for debate in the Haapala household.

In Chicago, I got to help at the start line of their 5K on Saturday and help with some finish line set up. I was lucky enough to be on the team that got to separate all the bananas for the 30,000 marathon runners the next day. On race day, myself and the rest of team in Chicago helped at the hospitality tent before catching an early flight back to Duluth.

North End Nightmare 5K – October 31

The North End Nightmare 5K wrapped up our event season for 2021 the night before Halloween. Looking back, I think everyone in our office realizes how lucky we were to have pulled off a complete event season that turned out to not be too far from normal.

This 5K really started because our executive director, Shane Bauer, loves Halloween. I’m not super into it but I did dress up as traffic cone. The best part of the night (in my opinion) is the Spider Dash, and the kids didn’t disappoint this year and came out in full costumes (all worthy of prizes). Watching a bunch of little kids run at you in their little animal and super hero costumes is the best (that and the corgis that live on the course). The North End Nightmare is labor intensive but well worth it in the end.

New Board Members

Some of our Board of Directors have been with Grandma’s Marathon since the start of our time as a nonprofit after the 10th anniversary of the race. Four of our longtime Board members retired this year, and we’ll miss them. The impact they have had on our Board over the years is long lasting. We are always proud to have a working Board full of people dedicated to the success of the marathon financially but also operationally. As a staffM we know the Board is always there for us regardless of the task. They can be found working marathon weekend, overseeing packet pick up to helping at a water station to running it and then working.

Retiring Board Members: Candy Furo, John Hartwick, Bob Hartl, Sheila Fryberger

New Board Members: Ross Fremont, Laura Gubelman, Wing Chan, Paige Stratioti

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.