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As a lifelong Minnesotan, Grandma's Marathon has been sitting on my bucket list for quite a while and, finally, I was able to make it there this year. It just so happened to be the PERFECT year to race there with amazing weather and storms in the forecast that never showed!
Registration: For registering online before January 1st, I received a high quality, zip-up Grandma's Marathon training jacket. This was the perfect motivator to get me through those cold Minnesota winter training runs.
Expo: I wasn't able to make it to the expo on Friday for packet pickup but opted to have my packet mailed to me instead. For $25 my packet was mailed to my doorstep a week or two before race day. That was so helpful as we have small children and quite a way to travel that day.
Race Swag: The training jacket for early registrants was definitely some “bonus swag”! Along with the amazing race medal (more on that below), the marathoners received nice quality dark green “finisher’s shirts” upon completing the race.
Course: This is the highest point of Grandma’s Marathon. I absolutely LOVED the course! The first half of the course is mainly scenic rolling highway lined with trees and an overlook of Lake Superior in spots. Race morning was cool this year and a mist covered the lake. It was really refreshing to run through!
The next half of the race was moved into the more spectator-filled areas as we neared Duluth. We ran by the Glensheen Mansion and the “Troll Mile” was really cool too. The spectators were wonderful and I enjoyed their enthusiasm and the rolling hills. There was never a dull moment in this race.
Finishing down a road lined with cheering fans was so awesome! The energy was high and the noise grew as we neared the finish. Upon finishing the race, the finish area was also quite scenic. It’s just such a beautiful area.
Aid Stations: The aid stations are located on the odd number miles up to mile 20, where they increased to being every mile. Stations offered water and Powerade with a selection of gels (numerous flavors!) available at mile 17. Occasionally there were bananas or oranges being handed out too.
Awards: The race medal is beautifully designed and a perfect fit for the race. Plus, it’s free-standing and easy to display.
Post-Race Refreshments: Water bottles were given out immediately after crossing the finish and the post-race refreshment table offered potato chips, CLIF bars, strawberries, orange juice and more. A drink of choice was available in the finisher’s tent when runners presented their designated ticket.
Logistics: Smooth! I was nervous about navigating a bigger race like Grandma’s Marathon but the shuttles made it a breeze. We decided to stay at the AmericInn in Carlton (about 20 minutes away) to save on hotel cost. They didn’t have a shuttle leaving from that location on race day but my husband dropped me off at the Proctor AmericInn to board that shuttle. A return bus brought me back after the race as well. Overall that plan went smoothly and taking the shuttle was much easier than finding parking in all the busyness of the day!
Grandma’s Marathon was an absolutely AMAZING experience! It may be my new favorite race and I can’t wait to go back.
For more race day details and photos, check out my blog post: