Volunteer FAQ

Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for Grandma’s Marathon race weekend. Grandma’s Marathon is truly a community event, and it wouldn’t be possible to care for our runners without your help.

If you have any questions or questions specific to your volunteer position, please contact our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com or call our office at (218) 727-0947.

What COVID-19 precautions will volunteers have to take in 2021?

We are working on developing our operations plan for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon race weekend. Keeping our volunteers, participants, and community as safe as possible is our top priority. Volunteers will most likely need to wear masks and additional PPE depending on the area in which they are working.

All volunteers will be required to follow local and state health guidelines as well as instructions from their captain and Grandma’s Marathon in regards to social distancing and PPE use. Grandma’s Marathon is counting on you to help allow us to have a safe event.

All volunteer opportunities are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All changes will be communicated with volunteers as soon as possible.  

Why do all volunteers need to sign up online now?

Having volunteers sign up online helps Grandma’s Marathon gather the necessary information to best serve our volunteers. We are able to gather contact information, emergency contacts, and see how long people have been volunteering.

If you have any issues signing up online, please reach out so we can assist you. Contact our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com or call our office at (218) 727-0947.

How many volunteers does it take to support Grandma’s Marathon race weekend?

In a typical year, it takes up to 6,000 people from our community to help support the approximately 20,000 participants that come for Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

We are still working on the details surrounding our 2021 race weekend, but the necessary operational changes will likely result in a large reduction in the number of volunteers needed to make our event happen.

We plan to return to our usual operation in 2022 and are excited to welcome our 6,000 volunteers back at that time.

How do I sign up to volunteer?

Grandma’s Marathon race weekend online volunteer registration is now open and will close on Monday June 7, 2021 at 11:59 PM Central Time.

If you have questions, please contact our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com or call our office at (218) 727-0947.

What volunteer roles are available?

A variety of different roles are needed to help make our race weekend happen. A full list of available positions is visible during registration.

Different roles require different skills and commitments from volunteers. If you have any questions, please contact our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com so she can help find a volunteer position that best fits your skills.

If you have any special considerations please list those during the registration process.

When will I receive more instructions that are specific to my volunteer role?

A Grandma’s Marathon’s staff member and/or your volunteer captain will communicate final information, including check-in location, parking and transportation options, preparation tips, and more. All volunteer training takes place onsite.

Group leaders are encouraged to follow up with their volunteers after receiving the official email to reiterate final details and share any instructions specific to your group.

In addition, all volunteers are encouraged to read and be familiar with the information included in the Weekend Activity Guide. (Note: The 2021 version will be complete in May, and the link will be updated.)

The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation, and we will communicate information to volunteers about what area they are assigned to and the details surrounding it as soon as possible. Please be patient as we work through the details of the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

What should I wear?

All volunteers will receive their required attire and any required credentials for their area in their volunteer packet. The volunteer attire must be the outermost layer and any volunteer credentials should be visible at all times.

While we appreciate groups and organizations wanting to represent themselves, it is vital for race officials, runners, and participants to be able to identify volunteers and for a consistent look across all areas of the event weekend.

IMPORTANT: The weather in northern Minnesota can be unpredictable. Please dress according to your job duty, and make sure you will be comfortable for the duration of your shift.

When will I receive my volunteer packet?

Volunteer packets start assembly in May and volunteers will receive a call when their packet is ready for pickup. All local volunteers must pick up their packets by Friday, June 11.

Volunteers coming from out of town or state can arrange for their packet pickup by contacting our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com or by calling our office at (218) 727-0947.

NOTE: Some volunteer areas distribute shirts and volunteer packets on-site the day of the race. If you are placed in one of those areas, we will let you know.

Where do I pick up my volunteer packet?

Individuals and group leaders can pick up their volunteer packets at Grandma’s Marathon’s office, address listed below. Pickup hours are from Monday-Friday from 8:00 am-7:00 pm.

351 Canal Park Drive
Duluth, MN 55802

All local volunteers’ packets must be picked up by Friday, June 11.

Volunteers coming from out of town or state can arrange for their packet pickup by contacting our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com or by calling our office at (218) 727-0947.

Do I need to bring anything when I volunteer?

Volunteers should not bring any personal items or valuables with them while they are volunteering. However, volunteers should bring what they need to take care of themselves for their shift (ie: extra snacks, jackets/layers, sunscreen etc).

Please check with your Volunteer Captain for any additional items they may suggest bringing with as each role and location has different needs or resources.

When arriving at your volunteer location, please check with your Captain for the designated area to store these items.

What if I need to cancel?

If you are no longer able to fulfill your volunteer shift, please immediately contact our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com or call our office at (218) 727-0947.

It takes up to 6000 volunteers to support the runners throughout the event weekend, so if you are able to find a replacement or help spread the word to others who may volunteer, we and the weekend’s participants would appreciate every helping hand we can get!

Can children volunteer?

Yes! Families, teens, and youth are welcome to join the excitement that comes along with race weekend. HOWEVER, all children must register as volunteers and for the most enjoyable experience, we encourage that children be at least 14.

NOTE: Some jobs allow children ages 10+ with the supervision of a parent or guardian. Please see job descriptions for age guidelines in those roles.

Groups of children should have supervision throughout their volunteering by a parent/guardian at an adult to child ratio of 10:1, respectively.

Can I count my volunteer hours for school or towards a project?

If your volunteer hours need to be counted towards school, work, or another organization—you must bring a copy of your program’s volunteer tracking sheet and will need to check-in and check-out with your designated Volunteer Captain to sign off on hours volunteered.

Grandma’s Marathon does not provide a tracking sheet and is unable to confirm volunteer hours after the shift.

How do I sign up and/or join a group?

If you are part of a group, please indicate that during the volunteer registration process.

If you are registering a group of more than 20 people, please contact our Program Director Alivia Nelson via email at alivia@grandmasmarathon.com or call our office at (218) 727-0947.

Why do I have to sign in with my volunteer captain?

Because of the scope of Grandma’s Marathon, it is helpful to know who is volunteering for our event and to know if those who signed up showed up for their shifts. It’s also a liability concern, as we need to know who is where and for whom we are responsible throughout the day.

In 2021, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this action will also help with contact tracing if that becomes needed.