Started by a local group of runners in 1977, Grandma’s Marathon has grown from just 150 participants its first year to now one of the largest and best-known marathons in the United States. Widely regarded as a world class event with small town charm, our race now welcomes more than 20,000 participants each June and brings with it close to $21M of economic impact to the region.
The racecourse, in a wonderful combination of serenity and excitement, runs alongside the quiet and scenic shores of Lake Superior before entering the city limits of Duluth where runners are welcomed and pushed to the finish line by a boisterous and enthusiastic throng of specatators.
In what’s become the largest community event of each calendar year, Grandma’s Marathon weekend has now become the unofficial kickoff to summer in Duluth and the surrounding region. It’s a time that our city and community throws open its doors to welcome participants from all over the world and introduce them to our race and way of life in northern Minnesota.
The opening salvo to race day, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon is now arguably the most popular event on Grandma’s Marathon weekend. Named after the first-ever marathon champion and 1976 Olympian Garry Bjorklund, the race began in 1991 and is now one of the most popular 13.1-mile races in the nation.
Entries are limited for the half marathon event, and each year’s race is sold out shortly after registration opens on October 1.
The kickoff event to Grandma’s Marathon weekend since its start in 1994, this 3.1-mile race on Friday evening starts and finishes near the historic William A. Irvin ore boat in Duluth’s Canal Park.
An new racecourse offers a scenic tour of the city, bringing participants through the historic Canal Park neighborhood before turning onto the beautiful shores of Lake Superior, making this the perfect race for beginning and experienced runners alike.