Overall Rating
Overall Rating (53 Reviews)
4.4
(53 Ratings)(53 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.5
SCENERY
4.3
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
4.2
Since our initial race in 1977, Grandma’s Marathon has grown bigger than just a 26.2 mile race along the scenic North Shore of Minnesota. It’s a moment where runners of all calibers come together to celebrate the vigor of the human spirit. Where the word “impossible” ceases to exist; a … MORE
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Recent reviews

    runningservant FIRST-TIMER '21

    We do what we do for a myriad of reasons. Most run, some bike and a few swim while only a handful do all three — I run. I ran … MORE

    We do what we do for a myriad of reasons. Most run, some bike and a few swim while only a handful do all three — I run. I ran this marathon in honor and loving memories of my Grandmas. Grandma Burros prayed me into the Kingdom of God while Grandma Templeton, who I’m sure prayed as well, taught me about the Godly lineage of our family. Both of my Grandmas lived lives that honored our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Grandmas, this one’s for y’all.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Grandma knows how to throw a 5K party. As usual, Grandma's house is always a fun family filled time that you'll never forget, even a 5K race. And although I … MORE

    Grandma knows how to throw a 5K party. As usual, Grandma’s house is always a fun family filled time that you’ll never forget, even a 5K race. And although I didn’t run the actual 5K, I cheered the entire 5K race on. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I’ll let the pictures do all the talking for me. If you know anyone who ran Grandma’s 5K and marathon, share the link.

    Grandma’s Marathon Weekend
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/jAHda8P8pxMK3xyu6

    CANADIAN RUNNING MAGAZINE
    https://runningmagazine.ca/the-scene/meet-the-texas-man-running-50-marathons-in-50-weeks-in-50-states/

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    runnincarrie REPEAT RUNNER '21

    As usual and awesome race and absolutely perfect weather. It was just so great to do the race live this year I don't think anything would seem bad except I … MORE

    As usual and awesome race and absolutely perfect weather. It was just so great to do the race live this year I don’t think anything would seem bad except I did it on a bum knee (injury from a race in May). But this race is organized so well and is so beautiful. Support along the course is great and the finish area very well organized with a lot of goodies/freebies. The After party was located at the Bayfront Festival area which I liked to get away from the Finish area, less crowded and could spread out more and find a place to sit, plus it is right by Lake Superior. The shirt was ok, the colors were interesting this year, not my favorite but I still liked it and the medal. Do this race if you haven’t yet! It should be a bucket list race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    SlowJuan FIRST-TIMER '21

    If you've run Grandma's before, then you know all the stories are true. This is a bucket-list experience that does not disappoint. Run almost entirely along the North Shore of … MORE

    If you’ve run Grandma’s before, then you know all the stories are true. This is a bucket-list experience that does not disappoint. Run almost entirely along the North Shore of Lake Superior, the event is incredibly beautiful, deceptively challenging and expertly staged. Weather is always a factor, as Mother Superior is creative and capricious in what she delivers off of the Lake. The 2021 Edition was characterized by what the locals hailed as, “…the best weather in a decade.” Clear and 60 Degrees at the Start, but a cool front moved through within the hour, providing cloud cover, a dramatic sky, and capping the temps in the high 50s. The view on the left side of the course, out over the Lake, was every shade of intermingled blue and gray imaginable. Both sides of the course are lined with a profusion of spruce, pine, birch and spectacular purple lupine wildflowers. Just about as scenic as any racecourse could ever aspire to be.
    A few shout-outs of appreciation to folks along the course:
    * The band comprised of 3 fiddles, a bass, a guitar and drum at Mile 3 playing folk music, reminiscent of “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?”
    (Wanted to stay and listen, but had to R-U-N-N-O-F-T.)
    * Grandmaster DJ Kelly, who kept the hits coming along the course from her wheelchair, pushed by a strong and faithful friend. Kelly was spinning Queen, Bowie, Billy Joel and even got the “Led” out. Nothing quite like hearing “Kashmir” as you’re grinding the grade at Grandma’s.
    * The lady who gave me a cake donut and a cup of pickle juice at the same aid station. Must be a Minnesota thing…..
    * My new favorite bartender, Kyle, who provided me with a very large, very strong, exceptionally good, Bloody Mary at Mile 20, complete w/ a beef jerky swizzle stick. I gladly accepted, as I was receptive to any pain management options at that stage of the race. Don’t remember a lot between Miles 20 and 22, but I may have hit a tree…….
    * The gentleman who provided me with a chili dog at Mile 23. It was awesome! Probably should have had that before the Bloody Mary.
    * The sweet, kind lady at the Finish Line who insisted I take a foil warming blanket because, “….you Oklahoma boys aren’t used to our Minnesota weather.”
    I wonder, could that have been ………. Grandma?!?

    Micro-Brew Review: I highly recommend the south-side vibe at “Bent Paddle Brewing” and “Ursa Minor Brewing.” “Canal Park Brewing” is a bit more upscale and located down in the wharf district. And “Earth Rider” and “Thirsty Pagan” (located in a renovated train station) are worth the drive across the bridge and over to Superior, WI to hoist a pint.

    DIFFICULTY
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    4
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    My Media

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    Shak38 FIRST-TIMER '21

    The only suggestion I have is for the race to start earlier than 8 am. Other than that, this is a top-notch event assisted by so many wonderful community members. … MORE

    The only suggestion I have is for the race to start earlier than 8 am. Other than that, this is a top-notch event assisted by so many wonderful community members. We rented a hotel Airbnb in Two Harbors and had a good choice of local restaurants. The race did a good job of spreading out the expo post Covid and minimizing participants while still maintaining a big-race feel. The shirts are great and I really liked the Great Grandma’s Challenge shirt with the hood. It’s a great green color. You received that if you ran the 5k the night before. The timing of the 5k was at 6pm the night before the marathon which meant you were eating after 7. I’m not sure I’d do that again as I have a routine and it messed with my head, but then again, I really liked the shirt and I’m never going to break any land speed records. This race is a ‘must do.’

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Supasaiyan93 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Lake Superior was gorgeous! The race itself was well run but the aid stations were mostly water, powerade, and ice with only 2 or 3 stops having gels, fruit, or … MORE

    Lake Superior was gorgeous! The race itself was well run but the aid stations were mostly water, powerade, and ice with only 2 or 3 stops having gels, fruit, or pickles. The course was kind of monotonous running down a rolling hills highway with trees blocking or obscuring the lake view. The spectators were super cheerful and even with my slowish finish time plenty of people were still around to cheer me on. The design is overall kind of boring and I found a better marathon shirt design in town at a local shop.
    The portapotty available was excellent and the expo was well organized.
    Duluth was a better city to hang out in before and after the race when I just sat at the local ice cream shop and enjoyed the sail boats going by.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    edge FIRST-TIMER '18

    Make your way to the north. Man, this is quite possibly the best race I have ever run. The scenery, the weather, the course, the expo, the city, the post … MORE

    Make your way to the north. Man, this is quite possibly the best race I have ever run. The scenery, the weather, the course, the expo, the city, the post party. Did I mention the post party? Get it done and quit thinking about it and do it.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    dwhitehorse FIRST-TIMER '18

    The point to point course is net downhill and is fast the entire length. The views of the lake are scenic and course support is great. Plenty of things to … MORE

    The point to point course is net downhill and is fast the entire length. The views of the lake are scenic and course support is great. Plenty of things to do in and around Duluth and Superior. Great finish line party too!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    BrianYowler FIRST-TIMER '18

    So many things to love here: Point-to-point race Take the train to the start! Giant balloons as mile markers (so motivating to see a balloon!) Beautiful scenery next to the … MORE

    So many things to love here:
    Point-to-point race
    Take the train to the start!
    Giant balloons as mile markers (so motivating to see a balloon!)
    Beautiful scenery next to the lake
    Fun, beautiful area!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    lterrill1125 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I died like halfway through the race, and was very dehydrated from not drinking enough water, so it was a slightly more painful experience than other races, however, I really … MORE

    I died like halfway through the race, and was very dehydrated from not drinking enough water, so it was a slightly more painful experience than other races, however, I really did have a good time. The views of Lake Superior are to die for at the beginning.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Eileen Warren
    Grammarathon FIRST-TIMER '19

    Flat as a pancake. Beautiful Great Lake views and breeze. Great Party after at Grandma's restaurant , then go to Minneapolis for a few days . Super weekend. MORE

    Flat as a pancake. Beautiful Great Lake views and breeze. Great Party after at Grandma’s restaurant , then go to Minneapolis for a few days . Super weekend.

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    5
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    M_Sohaskey Jul 27, 2020 at 8:28pm

    I've heard and read a lot about Grandma's, but I'd never heard about riding the antique rail car to the start... appreciate that heads-up and thanks for another 👍 review!

    I've heard and read a lot about Grandma's, but I'd never heard about riding the antique rail car to the start... appreciate that heads-up and thanks for another 👍 review!

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    ajbalbier FIRST-TIMER '19

    Breathtaking scenery kept me engaged during the entire race. Rolling hills throughout scared me at first but it kept me from getting bored or too sore. Wonderfully put together race. MORE

    Breathtaking scenery kept me engaged during the entire race. Rolling hills throughout scared me at first but it kept me from getting bored or too sore. Wonderfully put together race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of John Sachs
    jsachs67 FIRST-TIMER '19

    This is a great race. The views are amazing. I would definitely recommend this race. I will be back. I loved how casual everyone was before the race. The fly … MORE

    This is a great race. The views are amazing. I would definitely recommend this race. I will be back. I loved how casual everyone was before the race. The fly over and the train where amazing.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    5

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    GoRunGolf FIRST-TIMER '19

    This year I decided to go for the Great Grandma’s Challenge up in Duluth at the Grandma’s Marathon races. It was so much fun😍 My husband and I ran together … MORE

    This year I decided to go for the Great Grandma’s Challenge up in Duluth at the Grandma’s Marathon races. It was so much fun😍 My husband and I ran together as a fun run, and not race it, as I was racing the half marathon the next (early!) morning. The race begins and ends in front of the area where packer pickup is, so that is a plus to be so convenient to the expo and the pasta party! Parking was easy for us, but it is extremely congested downtown. We pulled into the last spot at a small parking area off to the side, and then the barricades went up to block traffic for the race. Side note- you do have to pay for parking everywhere, but they do accept cards at the public lots.
    The race started late because there was a blockage on the railroad tracks from a pizza delivery train. While funny, it only lasted about 5 minutes. They tried their best to send off the runners in waves to alleviate the congestion of the race. The course is super narrow. It was hard to get to the appropriately timed area as everything is blocked off and there are just tons of people.

    The 5k has some rough spots of gravel. I have fallen on gravel and that terrain always makes me nervous. Lots of winding around during the race also. The wind was whipping through and really cooled us down from our workout sweat! Note it was never hot, it was about the perfect temp.
    There was chocolate milk, peanut butter Clif bars of some sort(I’m allergic so that was a bummer) and waters at the end.
    The swag was a nice short sleeved tech shirt in a brilliant blue, and for doing the half marathon the next day, I received an awesome windbreaker jacket!
    When I return in 2020, I will definitely register for the great grandma’s challenge again and enjoy these back to back races!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
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    5

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    Profile photo of Joni Schwartz
    jonidalen FIRST-TIMER '19

    The first half of the course is relatively downhill with pockets of fans scattered. The views of Lake Superior increase as you progress along the course and an enthusiastic crowd … MORE

    The first half of the course is relatively downhill with pockets of fans scattered. The views of Lake Superior increase as you progress along the course and an enthusiastic crowd cheers you on for the final 6 miles. Be prepared for several turns during the last mile.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Robinlee21 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Very well organized from registration to the finish line. Communication is spot on, no detail is left out. Packet pick up and the expo has a lot of freebies. The … MORE

    Very well organized from registration to the finish line. Communication is spot on, no detail is left out. Packet pick up and the expo has a lot of freebies. The volunteers are amazing and make this race what it is. The course is mostly flat, tons of water/aid stations. The first few miles you run along the shore of Lake Superior and can hear the waves crashing. The specators are awesome and love to cheer you on. The finish area has plenty of water and snacks. The metal is pretty sweet too.

    DIFFICULTY
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    5
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    4
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    5

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    seaton611 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I came to Grandma's with my brother, who wanted to do the 5k AND marathon. I just did the 5k, but experienced the rest of the activities as a spectator. … MORE

    I came to Grandma’s with my brother, who wanted to do the 5k AND marathon. I just did the 5k, but experienced the rest of the activities as a spectator. The rest was amazingly well coordinated from transportation to packet pick up to the actual course. Volunteers were so kind and knowledgeable and the snacks at the end were so tasty.

    I’m usually overwhelmed when I spectate races, but this was a super smooth experience. The 5k was fun and the scenery along the lake was very pleasant. If I can justify another summer trip from Maine to Minnesota, I’d totally do this race again!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    5

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    Profile photo of Rae Ann Vadnais
    lancevadnais REPEAT RUNNER '19

    It’s a beautiful run. Well marked, plenty of water stops, fantastic crowd support, lots of good food along the route and people are so friendly and helpful! It’s my favorite … MORE

    It’s a beautiful run. Well marked, plenty of water stops, fantastic crowd support, lots of good food along the route and people are so friendly and helpful! It’s my favorite half marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
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    5
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    5
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    jlrettam REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Grandma's marathon has been on my bucket list for quite some time. My running took a group of about 15 of us down to the race. The expo was fantastic....it … MORE

    Grandma’s marathon has been on my bucket list for quite some time. My running took a group of about 15 of us down to the race. The expo was fantastic….it was quite a Chicago or NYC but it was pretty close! The morning of the race started pretty early, up at 4:30…stretch, eat and grab the shuttle bus. The shuttles went off without a hitch…the entire morning went off without a hitch. There were no corrals…they released all of us at the same time…I’m not sure why, but the race was about 15 minutes late starting for us towards the back. There was great music planning at the start line with plenty of porta potties (but what race can’t use more)
    The course was fantastic, running right along the lake, there was a great breeze! It was hotter and sunnier than we expected so I tried to stay to the left by the tree cover. Course was mostly flat (Lemon Drop Hill) with a couple gradual inclines…but nothing to bad. Entertainment on the course and crowd support was fantastic! Loved the street lined with trolls!
    The finish line was a little long, you went through the chute and it kept curving around and going and going! Volunteers were right there to give you your medal and wrap you with a heat sheet. Loved that you didn’t get your finisher shirt until the end! The lines were smoothly and the volunteers with the friendliest I’ve ever seen! I love this race and would highly recommend to anyone!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    4
    My Media

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    RedjacketRunner FIRST-TIMER '19

    Grandma's marathon has this whole race thing figured out! There are as many volunteers as there are marathon racers! They leave out no detail. The nice fleecy race jackets are … MORE

    Grandma’s marathon has this whole race thing figured out! There are as many volunteers as there are marathon racers! They leave out no detail. The nice fleecy race jackets are mailed out about mid-winter about when training starts. They do a great job keeping you informed leading up to the race. Race busses can pick you up in several locations near Duluth, including over in Wisconsin, or 26 miles north near the start line. The race starts out with a fly-by of two military jets- very cool- and the scenic train takes spectators along the course leaving about the time my group was about a half mile into the run. The spectators are amazing- some cheering sections make you feel like an elite athlete! The entire area from Duluth to Two Harbors makes you feel very welcome with signs all over towns and on businesses saying things like “Welcome Runners! Good Luck!” The official and unofficial aid stations offer everything you could need. I picked up bacon at one and strawberries at another! Yum! The race was fantastic and there were so many great things to do in the area. My family came with me and we made a vacation out of it. It is one of our best yet! I highly recommend the trip out for this race!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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