• Grandma's Marathon
    • Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon
    • William A. Irvin 5K
          • william a irvin 5k logo
          • The kickoff event to Grandma’s Marathon weekend, this 3.1-mile race starts and finishes near the historic William A. Irvin ore boat in Duluth’s Canal Park. A new racecourse offers a scenic tour of the city, making this the perfect race for beginning and experienced runners alike.

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    • Great Grandma’s Challenge
          • great grandmas challenge logo
          • It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but the Great Grandma’s Challenge is the best way for runners to experience everything our event has to offer, starting with the 5K on Friday night and continuing with either the full or half marathon on Saturday morning!

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    • KP Challenge
          • yaf race winner
          • kp challenge logo
          • The KP Challenge is a series of three great, local races — Saint Fennessy 4K, Fitger’s 5K, and Park Point 5-Miler — that are strategically placed throughout the year to help participants build their endurance and stick to a regular training schedule.

    • Saint Fennessy 4K
          • saint fennessy 4k logo
          • Get your green on for the Saint Fennessy 4K, a festive fun run perfect for runners of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re a first-timer or looking to jump start your spring training, this is the race for you!

    • Fitger's 5K
          • fitgers 5k logo
          • A perfect challenge for new runners or a good training race for veterans, the Fitger’s 5K has grown into one of the area’s premier spring races and now welcomes more than 2,000 participants each year.

    • Park Point 5-Miler
          • park point 5 miler logo
          • Come enjoy the height of a northern Minnesota summer at the Park Point 5-Miler, which holds the crown as northern Minnesota’s oldest road race and features a racecourse sandwiched between the open waters of Lake Superior and the Duluth Harbor.

    • Minnesota Mile
          • one minnesota mile logo
          • The Minnesota Mile takes you on a scenic, 5,280-foot journey around Duluth’s Enger Park, treating participants to some of the best views in the entire city during the peak of fall’s color season.

    • North End Nightmare 5K
          • north end nightmare 5k logo
          • A spooky end to our local racing calendar, the North End Nightmare 5K brings with it plenty of scary surprises and haunted attractions to the North End of Superior.

    • YAF Youth Races
    • 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

Road to the Boston Marathon- Entry #1

Entry #1: Mapping Out the Course
By: Noah Mark Bitney

“Getting the best out of yourself.” Since I began my running journey that has always meant getting to the Boston Marathon — the most well-known, exclusive, and desired of all races for runners! The fact that you have to qualify to run it is exciting and difficult enough, but even if you qualify that doesn’t even mean you will necessarily get in. Due to field size limitations, you usually have to be several minutes faster than your qualifying time. 2020’s “Cut-Off Time” was 1:39 below your qualifying standard with the biggest field size they have ever allowed with 31,500 runners!  BUT, of course, COVID happen and so in 2021 they had a 20,000-runner field size, and the “Cut-Off Time” was 7:47 below your qualifying standard.

“Winning doesn’t always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself.”

This won’t stop me however . . . I’m FINALLY coming after you Boston Marathon, and Grandma’s Marathon, you are going to get me there!

Hello Grandma’s Runners, my name is Noah Mark Bitney. I’m one of the Grambassador’s for Grandma’s Marathon 2022, and I’m what I like to call “your everyday runner!” What I mean by this is that I’m nothing special when it comes to running. I work a full-time job as a Store Leader of Kwik Trip, I have a beautiful wife, and an adorable 10-month old son at home. Running used to be a hobby for me, but over the last few years, I’ve turned it more into part of my everyday life. It is who I am, it’s a part of me, and I will do it until I’m unable to do it no more.

My running journey began way back in 2015 with the Eau Claire Half Marathon after spending all of 2014 making some good lifestyle changes. I’ve run four marathons, and four half marathons since that first race all that time ago. Since I began running, I’ve always had Boston Marathon in the back of my mind, but now I’m heading for it and giving it my 150% effort!

As a Grambassador, I would love to take you along my journey of my attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon at next year’s Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota! So, starting off I want to show you my “map” or plan for what the next 8+ months are going to entail.

Mile 1: Build Up Weekly Mileage

I’ve done a lot of research, and asked a lot of runners who’ve run Boston before on how they got to Boston. The best and most frequent piece of advice I got was to build up your weekly mileage, or simply put run . . . A LOT! So, starting off I’m going to take 18 weeks to build up to 60 miles a week! Then I will get into the real training after those 18 Weeks, where I will focus on more than just mileage.

 

Mile 2: Speed, Interval, and Long Runs

As I train, I also need to work on my speed. Once a week I will do a speed run (run at a faster pace), interval run (faster at a distance, then slower for a distance, for a specific mileage), and then of course my long runs. My long runs are to happen on Saturdays as race day is going to be on a Saturday, June 18th, 2022. Slowly, as I build my mileage up, I will build my speed. My race day goal is to cross that finish line in under 2:51:30!

Mile 3: Nutrition & Fuel for Runs

Probably one of the biggest challenges that faces me ahead is eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet. I will be the first to admit I’m a VERY picky eater and find it hard to eat a nutrient-rich diet. I love food, and I love my sweets. However, if I want to get the most from my training and have the best chance at qualifying come June, I need to figure out how I can best fuel myself for my runs. This will include tracking my meals, snacks, and practicing different foods before runs. This will be a real challenge but I’m up for it, and so any tips I will gladly take because I’m going to need all the help I can get here.

Mile 4: Strength & Mobility Training

My next biggest challenge is staying consistent with my strength and mobility training. This is key to marathon training to not only make myself a stronger runner but to avoid injury which could put me not only weeks but possibly months behind. The plan I have heard is to incorporate one “leg day” training a week, one Yoga Class a week (at minimum), and finally to make sure I stretch every day. . . including my rest days. Hips, legs, and core training are all really important to prevent running injuries as I put on that high mileage.

Mile 5: Track & Share my Progress

Finally, I’m going to start using a running journal to track how I feel after my runs, what I did and didn’t do correctly, pre/post-run routine, any strength training I did, stretch (did I do it?), and what I think I could do better on next time. Along with tracking my runs, I want to share my journey every step of the way. My main platform is on Instagram and you can follow me (@noahmarkbitney) as I share my road to Boston. I hope to also keep going with this blog as I work towards Grandma’s Marathon and that Boston dream!

These are my “Five Key Miles” (steps) to getting ready for Grandma’s Marathon and that Boston qualifying time. This is my plan to build myself up for the real training, which will begin in February! How about you? What are your goals for Grandma’s Marathon next year? Do you have a plan to get the best out of yourself? Let us know!

Noah Bitney

Noah is one of our Offical Grambassadors for the 2022 Grandma’s Marathon Weekend. Meet the rest of the ambassadors here.

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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory: Running this past summer, where I was able to redeem myself on the Grandma’s Marathon course after an injury in my first Marathon here. Not only did I outperform my previous 4:09:52 Course Record, but I smashed my PR by 18 minutes at Grandma’s this year! It was my first real race post-Covid, and it was such a great experience to get back out there racing again! 

Favorite Non-Grandma’s Event: Eau Claire Marathon #RunEC! I’m also an ambassador, and now a committee member for that race organization. 

Go to post-race beverage: CHOCOLATE MILK!!! 

2022 Running Goal: To FINALLY qualify for the Boston Marathon. I’ve got a long winter ahead, and it’s time to get myself into shape! 

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.