Grandma's Marathon

Grandma's Marathon

Grandma's Marathon

( 84 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Duluth,
    Minnesota,
    United States
  • June
  • 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Gina Hanzel

Minnesota, United States
54 24
2017
"Grandma's is THE BEST"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Gina Hanzel's thoughts:

This is my 2nd time running Grandma's and like the last time, the race did NOT disappoint!

Duluth is truly a wonderful gem of a city with great energy and beautiful scenery. The trip to the North Shore is worth it alone to check this marathon off your bucket list!

EXPO: Large expo with great guest speakers. Fantastic all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner which will for sure fill your belly before your race! I highly recommend this option because it can sometimes be hard to get a table at the local restaurants on marathon weekend. Why not just pull up a chair and eat at the expo before closing for the night?! No brainer! And, the pasta was great!

AID STATIONS: Grandma's knows how to cater to their racers. So many volunteers make this marathon a success. Cold sponges, ice, Powerade, water. You are never without a necessity. Along the course spectators also help you with basic necessities. Vaseline anyone? The national guard is posted on several locations t/o the course to lend a hand if one is needed. Porta-potties are frequent and usually only had a few runners waiting at a time.

Transportation to the race: Grandma's requires that all runners take a shuttle to the starting line either with the train or a bus. The shuttles are plentiful so there should be no problem getting one one. This year, I took the train - it was a fun experience, but a bit cramped. Nonetheless, it's always fun to ride the train along the lake - race day we had a nice view!

SCENERY: You can't beat the lake view. While you don't see the lake your entire run, you do get great glimpses of the lake and the cool breeze is a welcome feeling when it's hot.

The weather can be a bit of a wild card in Duluth in the summer - however, I will say that this year was fantastic. It was sunny, but only about 72 so not crazy hot!

The course itself is fairly flat - but does have some rolling hills, none of which are very steep - but if you're expecting very flat - this is not it, but there are NOT large hills - Grandma's is famous for BQ's because most runners are able to finish fast due to the course.

The race does have about 8700 runners at the marathon start, so porta potties are busy but there are hundreds of them. My suggestion is to get in line at least 30 minutes before the start so that you are sure to get a visit in before you start the race.

The post race fair is great as well with fresh fruit and bagels. Each finisher gets a drink ticket for beer or soda and the Country band at the finish tent is great! It's a nice place to unwind after the race and is not tremendously busy either, which is nice.

Let's talk about the medals. In the last few years - these medals have been fantastic! For 40 years prior, they were a simple circle medal with the grandma's logo. Iconic for sure, but in the world where people covet their medals, I really am happy that grandma's design team has brought out NEW and BIGGER medals. This year - it was beautiful! All race finishers receive their t-shirt at the finish line and if you registered early you got an extra track jacket too!

This race is truly awesome and I would recommend it to anyone.

Sidenote: The ONLY negative is lodging. Prepare for a spendy visit as hotels require a two night minimum stay and they can be upwards of $500 for the weekend. The Dorm is a bit less spendy, and seems to work well for another option. Be sure to book lodging early. Check outside of the city if you don't mind driving in as your rates will be much less expensive.

Don't forget to take a dip in the lake after your race! It's a nice "ice" bath!

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