We’re excited to annouce our 2023 Grandma’s Marathon Ambassadors! They come from all over the country and represent so many of the different runners that make our race weekend and Grandma’s Marathon family special. Follow along on their training and their trip to the finish line in June 2023.
Registration for Grandma’s Marathon Weekend Events opens on October 1 2022 at 7 PM CT. You can register online here.
For more details about all the events that make up Grandma’s Marathon Weekend click below:
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: My Grandma’s Marathon memories go back to cheering on my Dad in the marathon in 1978. Since then, Grandma’s is a family holiday – where all of us are either running some of the weekend’s races and/or volunteering, and spectating. One of my favorite memories is last year (2022) when 14 of our family members participated in Grandma’s races – from the Whipper Snapper races to the 5k and Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon – and then we all cheered on marathoners!
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “After the flood all the colors came out” – U2, Beautiful Day
Song that must be on your running playlist: “Work B**ch” – Britney Spears
Post-race beverage: Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie
2023 Running Goal: Keep running all year long
Three words to describe your training, racing, or life: Because I can
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Running in 2021, where I was able to redeem myself on the Grandma’s Marathon course after an injury in my first Marathon here. Not only did I outperform my previous 4:09:52 Course Record, but I smashed my PR by 18 minutes at Grandma’s this year! It was my first real race Post-Covid, and it was such a great experience to get back out there racing again!
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “Your past never defines your future.”
Song that must be on your running playlist: Hall of Fame (The Script) or Run (One Republic)
Running Superstition: Going to loose all my progress after not running for two days
2023 Running Goals: Qualify for Boston and run my first ultra
Three words to describe your training, racing, or life: Never Give Up
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Garry Bjorklund 2022! I ran a 12 minute PR on World Autistic Pride Day and it was such an emotional day for me. To be able to share that moment with my teammates from Mill City Running as well as my community meant the entire world to me!
Song that must be on your running playlist: Fighter by Royal Deluxe, Hit Like A Girl by Meet Me @ The Alter, True To Your Heart by 98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder, and I’m also a huge wrestling fan so I run to wrestling theme songs from Adam Cole, Rhea Ripley, Kenny Omega, and Becky Lynch!
Running Superstition: being autistic, routine is incredibly important for me. So my superstitions revolve around following my routine to a tee and if I don’t follow them exactly, I will feel off on race day.
Post-race beverage: hot chocolate, chicken broth or green tea! My body gets really cold after races so I need something warm afterwards.
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: I’ve been running Grandmas since 2001 and have a zillion memories, but in 2008 I was living in Palm Springs and talked a friend into coming with me. We were at the grocery store when I saw a woman posting pics of Husky puppies. Well next thing I knew, I was calling PetCo for a carrier and the airline to reserve a spot for her! So yes, I brought a blue-eyed Husky home with me to the desert! Four years later, I was finishing the marathon when I saw a local woman accompanied by her blue-eyed/brown-eyed Husky. I stopped and said how beautiful the pup was and how much she looked like my Ripley. The stranger knew my name, where I lived, that I ran Grandma’s every year, AND…the pup (Kayak) turned out to be Ripley’s sister!! It was an insane coincidence and now I visit them every year when I travel to Duluth!
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Songs that must be on your running playlist: “Jump” (any remix) – Madonna , “Ring the Alarm” – Beyonce , “Cloud 9” (Purple disco mix) – Jamiroquai
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: Tornadoes or electrical storms
Favorite pre-race meal: Ramen/anything soupy with noodles!
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: The last mile of the 2022 marathon will be something I always remember. The packed streets, the loud cheers, and seeing my son clap for my husband and me as we crossed the finish line.
Song that must be on your running playlist: “Hey Look Ma, I Made it” by Panic! At the Disco
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: There isn’t one. I would prefer to run outside in -30 degrees than run on the treadmill
Post-race beverage: Chocolate Milk
Follow Her on: Instagram
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Being selected as a Grambassador for 2023! This will be my first Grandma’s and first time to Duluth, MN. I am excited for the opportunity to connect with other runners and share my passion. It is no secret Grandma’s is a highly sought after race known for electric crowds and personal bests!
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: There were no restrictions until I turned 25. Now that I am in my mid thirties and soft, I enjoy watching HGTV while on my treadmill during heavy cold rain and days when it is below 30 degrees. My husband would prefer I not watch HGTV as it leads to many house projects for him!
Post-race beverage: I like to get wild with a shirley temple!
Running Superstition: I’m not superstitious I just like to wear the same outfit to every marathon and I always I have my 2012 IPod touch!
2023 Goal: Qualify for the Boston Marathon while pushing for Team Hoyt and qualify for the NYC Marathon!
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Covering Dakotah Lindwurm’s second consecutive Grandma’s marathon victory. She’s a badass.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “Run into your unknown.” – Becs Gentry
Song that must be on your running playlist: Top Gun Anthem
Post-race Beverage: Press Seltzer, Flavor: Pomegranate Ginger
2023 Running Goal: To not get injured!
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Even though I have run Grandma’s five times now, my favorite memory is still crossing the finish line of that first marathon. It was the first time I really felt that “I can do anything” feeling, and completing that first 26.2 demolished so many mental barriers that I had been harboring. It opened up so many things in my life.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: Bible verse sent to me before my first 100k by a fellow runner: Romans 5:3-4 ” Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Song that must be on your running playlist: Right now it is “Let Go” by Fossil Collective and “Unstoppable” by Sia
Favorite pre-race meal: Kodiak Cakes Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Peanut Butter and Almond Milk
Post-race beverage: any Athletic Brewing Beverage
2023 Running Goal: PR my marathon and 100 mile times
Follow Him on: Instagram
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: 2022 was my first year running Grandma’s Marathon. The conditions were absolutely perfect, and I started off strong. Mid-way through the race I bumped into one of my friends from Rochester, MN! We ran together for 5-6 miles but eventually separated at an aid station. I ran alone for the next 10 miles and then right as I reached downtown, I hit the wall and the wheels started to fall off. My friend caught up to me a mile later and gave me the pick-me-up I so desperately needed. We ran the rest of the race together. Crossing the finish line with him after going through the highs and lows of running a marathon was the highlight of an already amazing weekend!
Favorite pre-race meal: Pizza and GUMMY BEARS!
Running superstition: Lucky race socks!
Post-race beverage: Chocolate Milk… for now – I think I’m starting to develop a lactose intolerance…
2023 Running Goal: Complete a 100-mile race (we’ll see if that actually happens)
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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: I was running Grandma’s Marathon in 2022 and I was beginning to struggle a little bit coming up to Lemon Drop Hill, my calves beginning to cramp up, but almost my entire family was able to make the trip up to Duluth and I knew they were waiting for me at the top of that hill. Then, shortly after seeing them, I came across a group of enthusiastic spectators that had formed a human cheer tunnel. From that point on, the crowds fueled me and gave me the motivation I needed to fight through those last 3 miles and finish strong.
Song that must be on your running playlist: I don’t typically run with headphones but I have found a few songs playing in my head during almost every run, most of all Paper Planes by M.I.A. I should probably learn the words at some point.
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: I can’t deal with driving rain. I would rather crawl on a treadmill than endure 1 mile in that nastiness.
2023 Running Goal: I was able to make huge improvements in every race distance in 2022 and I just hope to keep that progress going, maybe even targeting a Boston Qualifying time if everything goes well. But my biggest running goal is always just to remain healthy.
Post-race Beverage: The coldest, cheapest beer available. Preferably the Champagne of Beers.
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Years of participating in Grandma’s marathon weekend and the moments start to blend together. However 3 core memories come to mind in particular… The first Grandma’s marathon memory is crossing the finish line of my 1st half marathon in 2015 at 17. Another great memory is crossing the finish line of my 10th half marathon in 2021. (After 10, I told myself I was going to take a break from running- that didn’t quite happen).
The third core memory is from my childhood. My mom and I volunteered at the water stop right before lemon drop hill every single year for as long as I can remember. We still have photos of me holding the cups out with the volunteer shirt on that went down to my ankles. I remember a lot of fast runners would stop and grab a cup of water from me (who wouldn’t want water from a 5 year old on the side of the road?). As a young child, I could feel the passion, perseverance and grit these runners had. I wanted to feel that first hand.. I had to be a part of this race. I set a goal of mine to run a half marathon before I set off for college and left Duluth. 11 half marathons later and I’ve decided it’s time for me to run the full. I still embrace the perseverance I felt from those runners as a child on every single training run.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “Run the mile you’re in”
Favorite Pre-Race Meal: Whatever leftovers that look yummy in my fridge that morning along with some fruit
Post-race Beverage: Water and an iced coffee with oat milk
2023 Running Goal: Complete my 1st full marathon and embrace the entire experience.
Follow Her on: Instagram
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Laughing with friends on the bus on the way to Two Harbors! I dropped out of Grandma’s Marathon in 2022 so my favorite memories were the ones before the race. This year will be my redemption year!
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: Keep Showing Up (that often repeated Des Linden phrase)
Song that must be on your running playlist: Thong Song by Sisqo and Thunderstruck by AC/DC. Thong Song because it’s an inside joke with my husband (and no it’s NOT what you’re thinking, but ask me sometime if we meet and I’ll explain) and Thunderstruck because it plays at the start of my local Columbus Marathon and I have really great memories associated with that start line.
Running Superstition: I don’t have any. Is that weird? Maybe it’s weird. My routines/outfits/everything has morphed over the years I have been running so I don’t have any superstitions because I don’t really ever do anything the same way year over year.
Post-race beverage: Pellegrino. It’s my post long run beverage too!
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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: My first ever Grandma’s, which was the Garry Bjorklund half, in 2015. It rained the entire time, yet it still remains half marathon PR to this date.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: Whether you think you can or you can’t… you’re right.
Song that Must be on your Running Playlist: Unstoppable by Sia
Post-Race Beverage: Coffee cooler from Caribou Coffee!
2023 Running Goal: Hoping for a half marathon PR!
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: In 2019, at the age of 60, I decided to reset my personal records (PRs). I honestly expected my PRs to be divided into “lifetime PR” and “over 60 PR.” I turned out that I set a new personal best in 13 distances, including the marathon. The June 2019 Grandma’s Marathon was a perfect, cool, calm morning. I ran a 3:19:11 marathon, beating my previous PR by six minutes, and beating the Boston qualifying time by more than 30 minutes. Wow! What a race! You can hear me tell my whole story of overcoming anxiety and living my personal best here.
Song that must be on your running playlist: Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf. I will also accept We’re Not Going to Take It by Twisted Sister.If you really want to get to know my musical taste, here are my favorite songs from the 1960s and 1970s. Yes. I am old.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!’” W. H. Murray
Post-race beverage: I drink a smoothie: Orgain Plant-Based Protein Powder, wild blueberries, organic oat milk, and an organic banana. It’s important to take in protein within 30 minutes of your run.
2023 running goal: I want to score enough points in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group World Rankings to be invited to the 2024 World Championships. Grandma’s Marathon is a qualifying marathon!
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: From 2022, chatting with Grandma at the finish line, like we were her own grandchildren. Definitely a big race with a hometown feel.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: forward is a pace
Song that must be on your running playlist: Iowa Fight Song
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: Lightning, too much ice
Post-Race Beverage: Ice cold craft beer
Follow Him on: Instagram
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: The 2022 Grandma’s Marathon was my second marathon ever. It is challenging to pick only one memory. The race was well-organized, the weather was perfect, the cheering was incredible, the lack of elevation was a blessing, and the views of Lake Superior made this the most pleasant way imaginable to run 26.2 miles.
To finish under 4 hours with seconds to spare and having that moment captured by the Duluth News Tribune is a memory I will cherish.
Although she was far ahead of me, my favorite moment was 2022 Grandma’s Marathon winner Dakotah Lindwurm dancing the Macarena. That video embodies the Midwestern spirit and humor that everyone should approach Grandma’s Marathon with.
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: I run in all types of weather. I have micro-spikes for running in the snow and gear for rain. Growing up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio and training with Northeast Track Club in Washington, D.C. has taught me to be tough. I’d rather be in terrible weather than on a boring treadmill.
Running Superstition: Shadowboxing! I enjoy boxing and frequently don’t stretch before runs. Shadowboxing helps me physically prepare at the starting line and takes my mind off the race.
2023 Running Goal: I’d love to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I either need to become faster or older.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “My doctor told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already.” – Milton Berle
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: In 2017, I ran my second half marathon (first since 2013) and training had gone pretty well. I was running eight miles without walking for the first time in my life and was on pace for a PR. I missed the PR by a few minutes, by about two and a half minutes, but had the best time on the race course. I hugged my family, friends, ran through a sprinkler, high-fived kiddos, ate the snacks along the way and listened to a great playlist. It was just the most fun day!
Post-race Beverage: immediately after a chocolate milk in Canal Park and then head to Fitgers with my family for an El Nino beer
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: Ice. Cold doesn’t bother me, snow doesn’t bother me, rain isn’t fun, but ice just plain scares me!
Song that must be on your running playlist:
The song “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch must always be on my running playlist. If you catch me at the right time, you’ll probably see me punching the air and getting really pumped up! That song always brings a smile to my face.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life :
My Grandpa always used to say that you ‘put one foot in front of the other and keep going.’ I think that’s not only a perfect attitude for life, but running and training too. In running as in life there are times when you feel like you may be at a standstill, and you push through and keep going. That’s all we can do, keep working to be the best versions of ourselves in all aspects of life. I know when I was doing my Virtual Boston Marathon alone, that was my mantra in the later miles when I wanted to give up.
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory:
My grandparents, Vaughan and Jill Gray, make the trek to Duluth from Georgetown, Texas, every summer. And every summer they volunteer at a race, and on marathon day they take the train and enjoy breakfast while they whiz past the runners. My favorite memory, hands down, is running the marathon for the first time in 2021. That summer my grandfather, Vaughan, turned 90! How blessed I am to have two incredibly healthy and active grandparents!! Race conditions that day were spectacular and I ooh’d and ahh’d as I saw the sights and spectators of Grandma’s for the very first time. I came across the finish line strong, and my grandparents were waiting on the other side to hug me with tears in their eyes. My nana said, “This is the sweatiest hug I’ve ever received, and it’s well worth it!” Then they took me for Macaroni and Cheese pizza at the Tavern as a post-race binge, and they were disgusted, and I was in heaven! haha! Crossing that finish line was a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life, and I feel so lucky that I get to run Grandma’s again and relieve one of my very favorite memories ever.
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life : Every flower has a season, every mountain has a valley, and what comes up must come down. I chant this to myself every time I’m running the hills!
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: I’ll only run outside! Once I ran through 16 inches of snow while living in Denver! The hammies paid the price, but the views were majestic!
Favorite post-race beverage: BEER!!!
Running superstition: I have a horribly old pair of lavender “hawaiian”-esque running shorts that I feel are lucky. I can’t run a race without them!!
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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: I ran Grandma’s Marathon in 2008 for my 3rd marathon (I’ll be running New York City in November 2022 as marathon #14!). I was fortunate to run it with my Dad and we finished in 5:34:19. It was a memorable adventure running this race together and experiencing the beauty of the Grandma’s course, spectator support, and the giant party that is Canal Park afterward!
Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: “The pain you experience today reveals itself as strength tomorrow.” -Tunde Oyeneyin
Song that must be on your running playlist: Kelly Clarkson “People Like Us”
Favorite pre-race meal: Chicken ravioli
Favorite post-race beverage: Chocolate milk immediately post-race followed by a dry white wine at night!
2023 running goal: Complete marathons #16 & #17 (since #14 and #15 are scheduled for 2022)
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: 2008 Running the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon for the first time. The pure excitement of learning that I can be a runner!
Song that must be on your running playlist: Gold by Prince. I love finishing a training run OR race with this song playing.
2023 Running Goal: Enjoy the sights and trust the process.
Three words to describe your training, racing, or life: purpose, intent, enjoy
Follow Her on: Instagram
Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: This past year one of my best friends and I trained together as a work stress reliever. We both hit massive PRs and when I crossed the finish line she was waiting for me and I had one of those like internal montage moments from our year and training together, it was such a powerful moment for me and made all the training worth it! Also get up a little early and TAKE THE TRAIN its amazing!
Song that must be on your running playlist: Mr.Brightside By The Killers, every time i hear that song it gives me a little extra pep in my step but also has anyone ever heard that song and not smiled?!
Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: Heat and humidity…. Yuck thats why Grandmas is my favorite race! Last year it was 95 across MN and 60 in Duluth and the perfect racing day
Favorite pre-race meal: Day of: Bagel, egg, and fruit Night before: all the spaghetti
2023 Running Goal: Be better then I was yesterday!