You have to start somewhere

The first quarter of each year is by far the most popular time for people to make a commitment to getting fit and feeling good. Grandma’s Marathon is happy to help as we enter the fifth season of our KP Challenge

It kicks off on March 16 with the Saint Fennessy 4K, a fun run for the whole family with a festive St. Patrick’s Day theme and post-race activities in Hermantown. From there, runners move up to the 5K distance at the 30th anniversary of the Fitger’s 5K on April 27. KP Challenge participants finish with the Park Point 5-Miler on July 18, where they’ll collect their reward at northern Minnesota’s longest-running road race! 

There are some fun new additions to all three races again this year and the Youth KP Challenge is back with lower costs for the kiddos. Get all the details and start today at

Don’t think you can do it? We know better. Take it from Linda Hanson, our Finance and Operations Director, who completed the KP Challenge with plenty of gas left in the tank:


Run Happy

“Hello, my name is Linda Hanson. I am the Finance & Operations Director here at Grandma’s Marathon. I came on board in 1987 and have been enjoying the privilege of creating extraordinary experiences for runners ever since.

I grew up pretty active – loving almost every sport I tried with the exception of running. Playing broomball, softball and tennis – I could go all day long. But just running… I struggled and couldn’t do it. The breathing was really an obstacle for me. Thinking back to high school, I recall the teacher having our class run around the outside of the building as an exercise. Being an athletic kid, I took off running way too fast, suffered a side ache, and within a few minutes I was walking the rest of the way. I never thought about just running again until recently, 40 some years later!

It all started with the Walking Dead TV show, of which I am a fan. I discovered a 5K fun run near Rochester, MN in 2013 that included a number of obstacles and a lot of Zombies. Hooked!  I decided my boys and I would have to give this a try. I needed to determine if I could survive an apocalypse. Result: It was a blast! Really enjoyed myself and what a terrific way to spend time with my kids and get some cardio in!

Following that super fun weekend, I traveled out to the Running USA Conference in San Diego where they encouraged attendees to join an early morning run, about a 5K distance. On the first day of the conference, I walked it – not thinking that I could actually run it. The next day, I was walking at a pretty good pace and started to run. I had to walk and run as I still do but I was surprised that I was actually running a bit without any of the issues I suffered when I was younger. Jon Carlson, the Executive Director at the time here at Grandma’s Marathon, finished his run that morning and then waited for me and we ran the last bit of the course together. There was something about that act of kindness that was very encouraging. On race days, I find that to be with a group of fellow participants is really fun! All different levels of folks are out there enjoying the event. Some walking, some running, some like myself – running and walking, but all headed to the same finish line – anxious to complete their race.

Following that conference, I decided to enter the Fitgers 5K, as I was curious what my time would be. I finished it in 37:15. Hooked, again. I have since entered many more races and even extended my distance to a 10K at the Marine Corps in Washington, DC, finishing with a time of 1:16:44. That race was super special, as I had never gone that far and there was a time restriction (made it no problem).

So my story is this – you have to start somewhere. The fun runs got me going, the Fitger’s 5K got me thinking I can do this, and when the opportunity came along to push a little farther, I made the decision to embrace the commitment. No matter how fast or how slow I end up going, I find that I just sincerely love being out there with everyone else.”

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