Just What Did I Get Myself Into?


What a strangely exciting time to join Grandma’s Marathon.

Hi there, Zach Schneider here. I’m the new Marketing & Public Relations Director, and my first three months on the job have sure been a whirlwind.

There’s been both excitement and anxiety. Anticipation and worry. Enthusiasm and apprehension.

The one thing my mind keeps turning to, though, is possibility.

Despite still dealing with the effects of a troubled 2020 and an uncertain future in 2021, my head and my heart tell me the best times are yet to come for Grandma’s Marathon.

I see that in the staff, who were forced into an unwinnable spot that ended with the first cancellation in the event’s history due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Their passion not just for Grandma’s Marathon but the people that make it special — participants, volunteers, spectators, community leaders, etc. — is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

I see that in the running community, which continues to be the proverbial heartbeat of our organization. Even as the world faces an unclear path forward, our half capacity field was full before Christmas and proved that people, from all around the world, want our race to go and want to be here when it does.

I see that in the city of Duluth and surrounding areas, which have shown in so many new and creative ways a strong desire to return the experience of Grandma’s Marathon weekend in June 2021 and bring the event to even new heights.

All of this to say, I feel there is hope. Hope that the events and feelings of 2020 are fleeting. Hope that there are better days ahead. Hope that we can grow stronger together through the toughest of times.

They say working this race gets in your blood. That it grows to be part of your soul.

After just three months, I see what they mean.


Get To Know the Staff

Name: Zach Schneider

Years at Grandma’s Marathon: < 1

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Despite growing up in Duluth, the first time I ran on Grandma’s Marathon weekend was in 2019. My wife, Megan, and I ran the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. The adrenaline from start to finish was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before, and that includes being at the finish line for lots of the race’s big moments in my former role as sports director at KBJR-TV.

Favorite Food: Tacos or Buffalo Wings

Favorite Movie: Remember the Titans

Favorite Music Genre: I’m a sucker for country music, especially in the summer.

Best Odd Job: I’m entering my fourth season as the television play-by-play voice of the UMD men’s and women’s hockey teams. Growing up, going to games was one of my very favorite things to do with my dad and friends, so this opportunity has been a dream come true (if I couldn’t be a Bulldog myself, that is!).

Favorite Hobby: In the summer, you’ll find me on the golf course 3-4 times a week, and Megan has been teaching me how to ski in the winter. We also spend lots of time playing with our dog, Hobey.

Best Concert You’ve Ever Seen: Megan and I went to Brad Paisley in Bemidji, and that was the weekend I decided to marry her. (We were married in August 2020, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic!)

Favorite State: Minnesota. Despite the cold, there’s nowhere I’d rather call home.

New Year’s Resolution: Megan and I want to have our first child in 2021. We are so very excited, and of course a little nervous, to be parents!

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