A long running history.
Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. There were just 150 participants that year, but organizers knew they had discovered something special. Grandma’s Marathon weekend draws more than 18,000 participants for its three-race event each June.
The race got its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma’s Restaurants, the first major sponsor of the Marathon. Over time, the level of sponsorship with the restaurants changed, but the name stayed the same. Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with a 17-member Board of Directors and a nine-person staff.
Runners from all over the world travel to Duluth to participate in the weekend festivities. In fact, 46 countries and all 50 states were represented in the 43rd annual Grandma’s Marathon in 2019.
History was made at the 38th annual Grandma’s Marathon when Kenya’s Dominic Ondoro ran the fastest time ever run on the Grandma’s Marathon course—2 hours, 9 minutes and 6 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 2:09:37 set in 1981 by Minnesota’s Dick Beardsley.
Sarah Kiptoo, of Kenya, holds the women’s Grandma’s Marathon original course record—2 hours, 26 minutes, and 32 seconds, set in 2013. Kellyn Taylor, of the United States, set an event record on the modified marathon course in 2018—2 hours, 24 minutes, 28 seconds. The race has been utilizing a modified course since 2018 due to road construction. We will use the modified course in 2021 and move back to Superior Street in 2022.
The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon is run on the same day as Grandma’s Marathon, starting at the halfway point of the full marathon racecourse and finishing in Canal Park. Meb Keflezighi holds the men’s course record— 1 hour, 1 minute, 22 seconds, set in 2013, and Duluth native, Kara Goucher holds the women’s course record— 1 hour, 9 minutes, 46 seconds, set in 2012.
To organize, promote, and deliver annual events and programs that cultivate running, educational, social, and charitable opportunities in our communities.
Shane Bauer, Executive Director
Laura Bergen, Registration & Expo Director
Sarah Culver, Elite Athlete & Administration Director
Greg Haapala, Race Director
Linda Hanson, Finance & Operations Director
Dave Lane, Operations Assistant
Kellie Luedloff, Office Manager
Alivia Nelson, Program Director
Board of Directors:
Tom Ehle – Retired, Duluth Police
John Foschi – SECRETARY/TREASURER – Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation
Candy Furo – Retired, University of Minnesota Duluth
Bob Hartl – College of St. Scholastica
John Hartwick – Wabegon Bar & Grill
Laura Johnson – CHAIRPERSON – College of St. Scholastica
Dale Kusnierek – Retired, CN Railway
Dave Malban – Attorney
Ben Nelson – Essentia Health
David Pipho – Essentia Health
Kristi Schmidt – University of Minnesota Duluth
Sheila Skou Fryberger – Retired, St. Louis County
Tom Stanley – St. Louis County
Louie St. George- Essentia Health
Ron Tinsley – Duluth Police Department
Joe Wicklund – VICE-CHAIRPERSON – City of Hermantown
Grandma’s Marathon adheres to SafeSport policies.
Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a Minnesota 501c3 nonprofit organization.