• 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

Grambassador 2022 Race Weekend: Shannon H

This was my fifth Grandma’s Marathon weekend, and I have to say it may have been my favorite. I was able to fully immerse myself in the entire weekend experience and I fell even further in love with the amazing Duluth running community. We came in on Friday morning to hit up the expo and grab my bib. We did the regular expo things…found my name on the car, ate some free samples, bought some new running clothes, and grabbed some cowbells. 

 

Next up was the Whipper Snapper Races. My seven year old, Dot, was running. She’s ran a couple of the 5ks that Grandma’s puts on in the past and was so excited to be a part of the marathon weekend as well. After she ran with the other seven and eight year old girls, she collected her medal and we checked out the rest of what they had to offer for our youngest runners. She scampered up the rock wall, jumped in all of the bouncy houses, and had some fun with the tortoises from the Great Lakes Aquarium.

 

From there, we headed over to the William A. Irvin 5k course, where my family and I volunteered on the Lakewalk. I think manning that turn around point and cheering on the runners was more fun than actually running the race, which I’ve done in the past as part of the Great Grandma’s Challenge. My kiddo especially loved it, and requested that we do it every year from now on!  

Friday was amazing-we had a full day soaking in the atmosphere and the sun and I went home fairly exhausted and excited for the marathon the next day.

My alarm went off at 5:00 on Saturday. The night before I had laid out my clothes and my pack with several GUs and a bottle of Skratch. I was doing everything wrong-I had all new clothes I had bought at the expo, new shoes that had came in the mail the day before, and was trying all new nutrition. However, I was treating the marathon as a long run in preparation for my first 100 miler in September, so it seemed like as good as time as any to try some stuff out. On the way to the UWS to meet the bus, I grabbed a coffee with some creamer to drink on the bus ride up to the start.

 

My seatmate on the bus and I chatted the entire time; discussing race goals, training, running during COVID times, etc. It was a perfect way to start the morning…good conversation, sipping my coffee, and looking out at all the beauty of Duluth in the early morning as we drove across town. The beginning of the race was like I remembered, there was electricity in the air-so much excitement and eagerness. I did what has become my regular routine. Get off the bus and hop in a portajohn line. There are a ton of bathrooms, but a ton of runners, so it is essential to get in line early! After visiting the ladies room, I did my warm up, ate another half of banana and got in the starting corral. The jets flew over, we sang the anthem, and before I knew it, we were off. 

 

My race goal was to keep in a lower heart rate zone for the majority of the race and see how I felt the last few miles and if I wanted to kick it up a notch. Aside from keeping it relaxed, I wanted to fully take in this experience- talk with other runners, enjoy the beauty of the course, and high five every hand out there. I really didn’t know what to expect for a time, but was shooting for a 4:30 finish time. 

 

The race went better than expected. The weather was perfect-cool and sunny, with a tailwind. I was able to talk with a few runners and hear their amazing stories. One many was running with his daughter-he was in his seventies and had ran dozens of marathons and was still going strong (I inspire to be still running at the age). The crowds were out in full force-cheering, showing off their amazing signs, playing music. The volunteers were also amazing-every couple miles providing water, Powerade, sponges, ice, and a ton of support. The first few hours flew by…and before I knew it, we were headed into town where I knew my family was waiting for me at mile 20.

 

This was the first time my daughter had ever seen me run a race. We’ve ran 5ks together, but she’s never been around for a long race. It was so nice to get a hug from her! The crowds and spectators in Duluth were wild! There were so many people out on the street yelling, ringing their cowbells, and cheering like crazy. All of a sudden I was at Lemon Drop Hill, which wasn’t as nearly as intimidating as I remember. (Moving to the area and running all these Duluth hills and trails has really changed my idea of what a hill is.) At this time, I knew I still had some gas in the tank so I started to pick up the pace. I’m happy to say that my final mile was my fastest! As I came in view of that finish  and heard Mike cheering me on, I put it all out there and sprinted across the line in a time of 4:20:23-definitely not my fastest marathon time, but one I was happy with.

 

Mike met me in the runners’ area after the race and we made our way to the finisher area in Bayfront Park where we enjoyed some hard cider, warm coffee, and great music. Afterward, we went the the King of Creams and enjoyed a post run burger and fries, before once again picking up Dot and heading home.  The marathon was perfect…the weather, the people, the course, the atmosphere. I am so grateful to be a part of such a great community and this weekend once again reminded me how much I love it here and how much I love the running scene of the Twin Ports. I can’t wait to do it again in June 2023.

Shannon Hogan

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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Finishing my first marathon. I never in a million years imagined I was the kind of person that could run a marathon. However, after visiting Duluth several times, driving on the course, and just feeling the incredible excitement around Grandma’s Marathon, I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl. I signed up right away in October 2017-then spent the spring of 2019 training for my first marathon. I remember going to the expo and just feeling the electricity in the air. The whole community seemed to come out in support of the runners on Grandma’s weekend. The excitement was palpable. I stayed at Spirit Mountain that night-and it rained like crazy. I ended up sleeping in my car because my tent flooded. The storms cleared out overnight and early the next morning it was perfect running weather. Arriving at the starting line I was so nervous, but also so eager to see if I could actually pull off 26.2 miles. I loved every minute on the course, from “Chariots of Fire” as we left the corral, to the beautiful (but foggy views) of the lake, to the college kids lining the streets of London Road, to the last painful miles up Lemon Drop Hill and to the finish. My goal had been to finish in 4:30 and I did it in a little over 4:12. I was ecstatic! Finishing a marathon was one of my life’s biggest accomplishments and has propelled me forward in so many ways. A couple of years later I moved to the Duluth area-partly due to the fact of the running community, trail systems, and the outdoor scene. I’ve run the Grandma’s Marathon every year since, and have completed the Great Grandma’s Challenge twice. I’ve run almost all of the other races they have put on, and loved each one. I’ve decided that 26.2 miles isn’t far enough and have ran a few 50ks since and this year I am completing my first 100k. Grandma’s has forever changed me as a person-I am more determined, stronger, and more resilient than I ever thought possible.

Favorite Running (& Life) Quote: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Thoreau *I want to know that I got every last note out of my life.

2022 Running Goal: I have two-we’ll see what happens. The first, to qualify for Boston at Grandma’s. (I’m in the slightly older category now, so I feel like I have more of a chance). Second, run a 100 miler.

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.