• 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

In It Together

Heidi and Sheila met in college in Iowa back in 1978 and would joke that they were “forced” to be friends because their parents advised them to stay on campus on weekends rather than go home like their peers. They would provide each other with a support system through nursing clinical rotations, late nights paper writing, final exams, and the inevitable “boy drama.” The support would not stop in college as Sheila would need Heidi’s support on much more important level years down the road.

 

After graduation, Heidi would move south for graduate school before moving to various locations for the next 20 years before finally settling on the East coast. Now while Heidi and her family may have been on the move, her friendship with Shelia was not going anywhere. They would continue to be great friends throughout the years by talking over the phone and taking advantage of the limited opportunities they had to see each other over the years. Whatever the occasion was they found themselves laughing and just genuinely enjoying each other’s company. They also found that they were able to provide each other with the same support they always had.

 

This support would show up in the grandest of ways when about five years ago Sheila was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease that causes kidney failure. She was informed that should need a donor, so the search began. Heidi would be there to support her friend through the process but found out she could support her in the best way possible when she found out that she of all people was the best match to donate her kidney to Sheila.

 

Shelia would go on to have a successful transplant and 16 months post-transplant both are doing well. Sheila feels great, has her energy back, is out walking, and eating the healthy food that she loves again. Now there may have been a few “blips” along the way, the fact that these two were able to make this work being on different sides of the country in the middle of a pandemic is amazing. Heidi would like to address the false narrative that donating an organ will make you feel sick for the rest of your life as she feels great, and walks 5-7 miles every day.

 

Now together Heidi and Sheila will be doing the William A. Irvin 5K together to celebrate their journey and special friendship. They hope that their story can help bring awareness to the need for living donors. This is a real issue in America with over 100,000 people in line for a new organ. “I know the process and uncertainty of being a living donor can be overwhelming and even scary. Yet, I firmly believe that we are put on this earth to do good for others, and having the opportunity to save someone’s life is a true gift” said Heidi. This ultimate act of selflessness and friendship should be celebrated and doing the William A. Irvin 5K is a great way to do that.

 

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.