Grandma's Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. There were just 150 participants that year, but organizers knew they had discovered something special. Grandma's Marathon is now a self-governed nonprofit organization with a 17-member board of directors. Grandma's Marathon weekend draws more than 18,000 participants for its three-race event each June.
The race got its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma's Restaurants, the first major sponsor of the Marathon. Over time, the level of sponsorship with the restaurants changed, but the name stayed the same. Grandma's Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with a 17-member Board of Directors and a small, eight-person staff.
Runners from all over the world travel to Duluth to participate in the weekend festivities. In fact, 44 countries and all 50 states were represented in the 38th annual Grandma's Marathon on June 21, 2014.
History was made at the 38th annual Grandma's Marathon when Kenya's Dominic Ondoro ran the fastest time ever run on the Grandma's Marathon course 2 hours, 9 minutes and 6 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 2:09:37 set in 1981 by Minnesota's Dick Beardsley.
Sarah Kiptoo, of Kenya holds the women's Grandma's Marathon course record 2 hours, 26 minutes and 32 seconds, set in 2013.