• Grandma's Marathon
    • Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon
    • William A. Irvin 5K
          • 2023 Registration Opens on October 1, 2022

          • 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
          • 2023 Registration Opens on October 1, 2022

          • 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
grandmas marathon runners start line

Working Through an Injury

As a runner, being sidelined with an injury is the worst.  There’s no doubt that spectating a race is an amazing experience.  Cheering on runners and seeing their strength and determination is a moving experience.  I appreciate every time I have the chance to watch a race but watching when you are injured is dreadful.  You want to be out there with your fellow racers.  Although we work hard at training, a running injury is bound to happen.  Our sport is hard on our bodies.

My running injury happened in 2014.  I was about five miles into the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon at Grandma’s weekend in Duluth, Minnesota when I had sudden, severe right hip pain.  Something was not right.  It wasn’t the usual muscle tightness you might experience on a run. It wasn’t something I can step to the side and stretch out.   It was different and it hurt.  It’s in these moments we truly learn how strong we really are.  I was determined to finish this race and it took everything I had.

It is often said that running is more a mental sport than a physical sport.  Of course, running is physically challenging and requires some basic level of fitness even for us back of the pack runners.  But so often it’s mental toughness that drives a runner from start to finish line.  It takes discipline, drive, focus, confidence, and even a little bit (sometimes a lot) of humility.

That Saturday race day in Duluth when my hip pain started, the mental aspect of running was given the ultimate challenge – to stop out or push through.  The saying “dig deep” is no joke. It seems daunting when you are up on London Road knowing your goal is Canal Park and you are miles away and in extreme pain.  It literally took everything I had but the mental drive really did take over.  I took the rest of the race in small increments.  Get to the next street corner.  Get to the next light post.  Get to the top of Lemon Drop Hill.  I remember counting orange street cones and telling myself don’t walk until you’ve run past five.  Followed by, you can only walk for five orange cones and you must run again.  The pain still hurt but the mental focus kept me going.  One foot in front of the other, deep concentration, and pure grit got me to the finish line that day.

After the race, it took several weeks, many doctors’ visits, lots of PT, and an MRI to finally receive the diagnosis I had dreaded – a torn right labrum.  The labrum is a ring of cartilage on the outside rim of the hip that cushions the joint and acts like a rubber seal to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket.  The timeframe from injury to diagnosis is just as mentally challenging.  You want to be running but you can’t.  The pain is still there.  You start overthinking everything.  I will never run again.  I will have to start completely over.  Why me.

I remember the day I had surgery.  I got called back to the pre-op area and I was instantly in tears.  I cried through my whole admission.  I was so distraught they had to call my husband back to sit with me.  I remember the nurse saying “you are just having hip surgery, this isn’t that bad”.   In the grand scheme of medicine, she was right – this was a pretty routine surgery that would help me be in less pain.  But at that moment I could only think that I would never run again.  I was irritated she didn’t realize how important this was to me – does she not know this is a big deal to a runner?   She was a good nurse doing her job, I was just mad about the whole thing.   In the end, surgery went well and I was home the same day.  The next mental struggle comes during the rehab and recovery phase.  Somehow, I changed my attitude from “I will never run again and this is awful” to…. “I can and will do this”.

In the recovery period, I did everything the surgeon said.  I followed my physical therapy exactly as prescribed.  The only thing I did that they told me I shouldn’t do, was return to Grandma’s weekend the very next June in 2015.  Yep, that is the runner in me.  Determined.  Focused.  Driven.  And maybe a little bit stubborn.  I still have daily discomfort with my hip.  Sitting is hard.  I tighten pretty easily.  Arthritis is around the corner.  A hip replacement is in my future.  But for some reason, running does not hurt.  Running makes me feel strong.  Running makes me feel like I took control of my injury.

Pushing through an injury, recovering and rehabbing through an injury, and returning to the sport we love is a humbling experience.  As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t say that it’s not always the right decision to push through pain.  Pain is a sign something is wrong and there are times that pushing through can make things worse.  But the runner in me also knows limits can be pushed.  The body is amazing.  And even more importantly, the mind is amazing.

Carrie Alojoki

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

Follow Her on: Instagram BlogTiktok,

Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory:  Crossing the finish line at the 2015 half marathon.  The year prior, I was running the half marathon and at about five miles in I knew something was wrong with my hip. I was in so much pain and could barely run.  I managed to finish the race but was sidelined from running for months.  It took any doctor’s visits to finally figure out I tore my right hip labrum.  I had surgery in October of 2014 and was told I might not be able to run again.  I told my physical therapist, “no way am I stopping, I have Grandma’s to train for”.  I worked hard and finished in 2015, my first race back after surgery!

What is your favorite quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training/racing/life? You don’t have to be the best of the best, you just have to be your best.

Favorite Non-Grandma’s Marathon event:  Whistlestop in Ashland, WI

2022 Running Goal:  Set a 13.1 personal record

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.