Dustin had run it twice, once before I knew him, and once when we were dating, but both times it was very hot and sunny. His experiences weren’t great, so I was never tempted to run it. But then my running club friends would run it each year, and they would have awesome races there. They would tell me what a fun weekend it is in Duluth.
I was tempted. Every Minnesota distance runner needs their own Grandma’s story….
So in 2015, I ran my first Grandma’s Marathon and had a really good experience. I beat my goal of 3:45 and ran a 3:41:50. This was a 13 minute improvement from my previous marathon PR, safe to say it was a positive experience!
And now, in eight days, I’ll be running Grandma’s again. I have confidence that it will be just as much fun as last year. There are many reasons to love Grandma’s Marathon.
In fact, I’m here today to share five of those reasons for my Friday Five Favorites!
1. Flat and Fast Course.
Grandma’s Marathon is a point-to-point course with very limited elevation change. There is one small hill called “Lemondrop Hill,” but last year, I hardly noticed it. The first 15 miles or so don’t have a ton of crowd support, but they are beautiful quiet miles along the lakeshore.
2. Beautiful Course Along Lake Superior
I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty of Duluth, Minnesota. Gorgeous. Lake Superior is on your left the whole time (until a mile or so at the end). You’re surrounded by the natural beauty and fresh air that is Northern Minnesota.
3. “Local” Race to the Twin Cities- Just a Short Drive!
The fact that Duluth is only a 2.5 hour drive from the Twin Cities means that your friends and family can come up to cheer for you. Last year, there were several members of my running club on the course cheering and it was wonderful. Dustin biked along the course and caught me at several points. So fun. It also means you don’t have book a flight, which makes it an easy race to do financially as well.
4. It’s a Saturday Marathon!
I just love a Saturday marathon and they are actually kind of rare. I love that you can race Saturday, celebrate Saturday night (at least as much as you can after a marathon!), recover back at home on Sunday. You’re back in the office on Monday. Easy.
5. Post-Race Celebration!
The whole city of Duluth comes out to celebrate Grandma’s Marathon and the post-race party is out of control!
The below picture is from the beer tent immediately after the race, but the real party starts later in the day. Duluth knows how to celebrate!
And its seems like everyone you know from the running community in the Twin Cities is there. Good times.
6. BONUS! Ice-bath in Lake Superior:
Granted, I only got my legs wet last year, but several of my friends went ALL-in for a post-marathon ice bath in the Superior. In June, the lake is still very cold. Brave souls speed their recovery by taking a quick dip in this frigid great lake!
I was surprised by how much I loved Grandma’s Marathon last year. I’ve run 22 marathons, but this one does stand out. The logistics are easy, the course is lovely, and the town support is phenomenal.
Let me know if I missed any reasons that to love Grandma’s Marathon!
Good luck to all the runners on June 18th at the 40th Grandma’s Marathon! See you there!