Grandma’s Marathon is committed to hosting an eco-friendly marathon each year and sustainable initiatives are an important part of the year-round operational planning of race weekend.

As a major sponsor of Grandma’s Marathon, Waste Management Sustainability Serviceshas set the organization on a course toward becoming a zero waste event. Race weekend has always had a focus on sustainability through partnerships with major sponsor Waste Management and other companies committed to sustainability.

Sustainability Initiatives

  • Sourcing local vendors and local products whenever possible
  • Recycling leftover HeatSheets® and finisher medals
  • Upcycling race course sponges to be made into carpet-backing
  • Donating unused food to local food shelves
  • Supplying water responsibly: via water trucks and fire hydrants on the racecourse, and in Dasani’s recyclable bottles that are made of 30% plant-based material
  • Providing a free phone app to electronically access real-time information versus printed materials

Goodwill Industries of Duluth is a partner of Grandma’s Marathon, serving as the event’s official clothing recycler.

The partnership includes the collection of all apparel items that are discarded by runners along the race course, which will then be donated to Goodwill, contributing to their mission.

Goodwill also sends any extra race finisher shirts to textile streams to be repurposed into other products.

Each year, runners are encouraged to bring their old running shoes with them during Grandma’s Marathon weekend to participate in Toyota’s “Fill The Tundra” shoe drive.

Shoes can be dropped off at the Essentia Health Fitness Expo or a local Toyota dealership, and participants can donate their shoes after they cross the finish line as there will be collection bins located in the finish area.

At the culmination of the race weekend shoe drive, Goodwill Industries of Duluth will assist in refurbishing and distributing the shoes for use by those in need.

Coca-Cola Beverages of Duluth is a family-owned business that provides Grandma’s Marathon with quality products and service.

Distributing in our area out of Duluth, MN and Ashland, WI, Coca-Cola is instrumental each year by helping responsibly supply our participants with water via water trucks and fire hydrants on the racecourse into cups,

A decades-long and now distinctive initiative at Grandma’s Marathon has been the bus and train transportation 15,000+ runners to the starting line(s).

This not only reduces the environmental footprint of ourevent but also allows participants to experience a unique ride along Minnesota’s beautiful and scenic North Shore.

Our partnership with North Shore Scenic Railroad makes Grandma’s Marathon one of, if not the only marathon in the world where participants can ride a train to the start line. Grandma’s Marathon also provides free post-race shuttle service back to local hotels, college campuses, towns, and other area landmarks.

Grandma’s Marathon and the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF) offer bike valet services for secure bike storage for participants and attendees at their events. Similar to a coat check, our bike valet service helps our community from a health, environmental, and traffic standpoint.

By offering our participants and attendees a temporary and secure bike parking space, we encourage the use of active transportation within our community.

Grandma’s Marathon continues the development of its “Green Team,” which works to assist our participants with sorting all recyclable and compostable materials to minimize overall waste.

The efforts of the Grandma’s Marathon “Green Team” can be seen throughout the event; however, the finish line area is where runners will see the impact firsthand through the team’s assistance with proper waste sorting and disposal choices.

Grandma’s Marathon would like to thank all of their sustainability partners including Coca-Cola, Duluth Coffee Company, Duluth Transit Authority, Goodwill Industries, North Shore Scenic Railroad, ProPrint, Super One Foods, Toyota, Verso, Voyageur Bus Company, Waste Management, and WLSSD.