2021 COVID-19 Race Updates

2021 COVID-19 Race Updates

Last Updated on March 1, 2021

In preparation for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon race weekend, our staff continues to analyze several changing factors to determine the potential risk and appropriate safety measures. We are relying on the analysis of our Medical Director and his team at Essentia Health as well as our state and local health partners, who are closely monitoring the changing situation and conditions.

We are hopeful our success and experiences organizing other small events since summer will help us create a workable modified plan ahead of  Grandma’s Marathon weekend in June. In addition to working with the experts listed above, we have also employed a crowd science analysis of our specific participant flow and density, which will help give us the data necessary to create the safest possible race environment.

Updates about our operations plan will be posted here as they become available.

News Release from March 1, 2021


Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. has partnered with world-renowned crowd scientist Marcel Altenburg of Manchester Metropolitan University to optimize the event’s participant flow as part of the organization’s COVID-modified race plan.

“Grandma’s Marathon is unique in its setup and all measurements of the event are very fortunate,” Altenburg said. “With the right adjustments, this race can be organized with social distance in the place at the start, through the course, and at the finish.”

Grandma’s Marathon is planning a half capacity event, including but not limited to the following changes on race day:

  • Bus Transportation – Buses to the start line for the marathon and half marathon will allow a maximum of 25 participants, and all public transit safety guidelines will be in place. Participants will exit buses in a controlled fashion to ensure there is always adequate space in the start corral.
  • Rolling Start Line – Participants will enter a start corral for both the marathon and half marathon, which will be spaced to allow for appropriate social distancing. Once in the corral, participants will immediately advance toward the start line. Participants will then be released from separated lanes in a staggered fashion, five at a time, to control the flow onto the racecourse.
  • Masks & Face Coverings – All participants, volunteers, staff, and others present will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times other than while actively participating in a race. This includes but is not limited to on the bus, in the start corral, and after crossing the finish line.

See full Press Release here.

News Release from January 14, 2021


Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. today announced the in-person capacity for its 2021 race weekend will not be increased due to continuing public health and safety concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Registration initially opened October 1 at half capacity with the hope that conditions and guidelines would improve to the point more in-person spots could be offered in the future.

“As badly as we wanted to increase our in-person capacity,” executive director Shane Bauer said, “we understand the importance of developing a COVID-modified race plan that can be approved by the state and executed as safely as possible for those who have already registered. Zeroing in on the expected number of participants was an important step in continuing our planning process.”

Those still interested in participating in the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon weekend can contact one of the event’s Charity Partners or register to run one of the weekend’s races virtually.

The 45th annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend is scheduled for June 17-19, 2021. For more information, please call our office at (218) 727-0947 or email us at grandmas@grandmasmarathon.com.