Start Line

Rolling Start Process

The start line for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon, Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, and William A. Irvin 5K will look different than normal to help maintain adequate space for social distancing.

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 in a staggered fashion, using a longer than typical timeline.
  • Race start areas will have a maximum capacity to allow adequate space for social distancing between participants
  • Participants, as directed by event staff and volunteers, will move progressively through the start area in a controlled fashion

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 a faster pace arrive earlier to the start area and are near the front of the corral at the beginning of the race. Those who plan to run a slower pace, please plan on arriving later to the start area.

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 a faster pace arrive earlier to the start area and are near the front of the corral at the beginning of the race. Those who plan to run a slower pace, please plan on arriving later to the start area.

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:

  • Participants will not be allowed to bring gear bags to the start line. Instead, gear bags will be distributed at the time of packet pickup and can be dropped off at the finish line area in advance of boarding a bus or train to the start line.
  • Grandma’s Marathon staff and volunteers will secure the gear bag area, but participants are encouraged not to leave valuables or necessary medication in their gear bags. Grandma’s Marathon is not responsible for misplaced or damaged items.
  • After finishing the race, participants who dropped off a gear bag will be able to collect it near the end of the runner recovery area at the finish line.
  • Participants are encouraged to bring “throw-away clothing” on the morning of the race to stay warm. These items can be discarded at the start line and will be donated to our partner, Goodwill Industries of Duluth.

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.

Transportation to the start areas will be different this year because of the planned rolling start process. As soon as we have finalized more specific details on when and where transportation will be available for participants, we will communicate that.