Start Line

Rolling Start Process

The start line for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon, Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, and William A. Irvin 5K will feature key operational changes in an effort to maintain appropriate social distance between participants in the start area, on the racecourse, and in the finish area.

Our staff has worked closely with world-renowned crowd scientist Marcel Altenburg and his company, Start Right, to develop a modified rolling start process.

The videos below illustrate Alternburg’s model and the concept of a rolling start that will be used for all three 2021 Grandma’s Marathon races. Some of the highlights include:

  • Participants will arrive at the start area(s) in a staggered fashion via provided bus or train transportation.
  • Participants, as directed by event staff and volunteers, will move progressively through the start area in a controlled fashion. This will be a walking pace toward the start line, and participants will never be stationary for an extended period of time.
  • Near the start line(s), participants will be separated into five separate lanes. Staying appropriately spaced within those lanes, participants will follow the person in front of them and start their race.
  • Toilets will be available in the start area(s), which is about 2/3 mile long. There will be limited space for stretching but no space for extensive warmups (jogging, runouts, etc.)

NOTE: All participants are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face covering while in the start area. The corrals will have enough space to allow for appropriate social distancing.


Grandma’s Marathon Start Line

The 2021 Grandma’s Marathon will start at 7:45 a.m. just outside Two Harbors, MN on Old Scenic Highway 61.

We ask that those participants expecting to run competitively or at a faster pace plan to arrive earlier to the start area Those who plan to run at a slower pace, please plan on arriving later to the start area. This will assist in reducing the density of participants on the racecourse.

NOTE: Toilets will be available in the start area. There will be limited space for stretching but no space for extensive warmups (jogging, runouts, etc.)


Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Start Line

The 2021 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon will start at 6:00 a.m. just north of Clearwater Grille on Lake Superior on Old Scenic Highway 61.

We ask that those participants expecting to run competitively or at a faster pace plan to arrive earlier to the start area Those who plan to run at a slower pace, please plan on arriving later to the start area. This will assist in reducing the density of participants on the racecourse.

NOTE: Toilets will be available in the start area. There will be limited space for stretching but no space for extensive warmups (jogging, runouts, etc.)


Gear Bags

To reduce lines and congestion on race day, especially at the start line, gear bag service for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon weekend will be provided in the following, modified fashion:

  • There is no gear bag drop-off allowed at the start line(s) for any of the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon weekend races.
  • Participants will receive an official, clear plastic bag at packet pickup. NOTE: Unofficial gear bags (including backpacks) are not permitted and will not be accepted.
  • Official gear bags can be dropped off at the following times and locations prior to going to the start line:

Thursday, June 17 – 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
DECC Arena – 350 Harbor Drive, Duluth, MN

Friday, June 18 – 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
DECC Arena – 350 Harbor Drive, Duluth, MN
Finish Area Tent – Canal Park (between Buchanan Street & Morse Street)

  • Your gear bag will be available for pickup in the finish area tent following the completion of your race.
  • Participants are discouraged from leaving valuables or necessary medication in a gear bag. Grandma’s Marathon is not responsible for any lost or damaged items. All bags are subject to inspection.
  • Please plan to dress in warm layers on race morning. Clothes can be discarded in the start area and our partners, Goodwill-Duluth, will reuse or recycle all items left by participants.

NOTE: Participants will not be allowed to board a bus or train to the start line on Saturday morning with a gear bag or backpack (hydration belts and vests are allowed) . Grandma’s Marathon will not transport any bags from the start to the finish in 2021.


Transportation

All participants are required to use the provided bus or train transportation to the start line. To help control participant density and allow for adequate spacing at the start line, absolutely no individual drop-offs will be allowed.

For more specific times and locations available for bus and train transportation on race morning, please click the button to the right. NOTE: Transportation to the start line is for participants only, and you must have your race bib visible to be allowed to board a bus or train.