No, we did not run, we just watched. We hit several major viewing points to cheer on my brother-in-law, who finished in 4 hours 28 minutes. Not bad for someone’s first marathon!
Grandma’s Marathon attracts thousands to the Twin Ports area every June and is a qualifier for other major marathons. According to mtechresults.com in the 2014 race there were 6212 finishers and the average time was 4 hours, 14 minutes. I’m sure there are very good reasons why the race is held in June, but weather is not one of them. The north shore’s weather is very unpredictable in June; some years it has been blazing hot, some years it has been raining, and this year was cold and foggy. All the spectators had their winter jackets on and felt bad for the runners, most of whom were in thin jerseys and short-shorts. We all thought, “well maybe the cool air feels good for them.” No such luck. Several runners told me afterward that it was quite chilly, even for a heart-pumping 26.2-mile run.
According to the official Grandma’s Marathon website it is impossible to see a particular runner at points both along the north shore portion, and in the city of Duluth. It’s one or the other and if you expect to watch in Duluth, they say you better be happy picking just one spot and sticking with it. We defied them and were able to see my brother-in-law at four points along the route:
- Homestead Rd (mile 9) – all the runners were looking fresh and hopeful! We arrived early enough to see the elite runners—none of them looked particularly happy but they were running twice as fast as everyone else.
- Lakewood Rd (mile 16) – this is where we spotted the drone. The operator seemed to be nowhere in sight and we assumed it was a media camera, recording all the action below. Will drones soon be flying high above our heads every day? I guess that’s a heavier discussion than I’m willing to venture into today.
- Lemondrop Hill (mile 22) – sounds sweet, doesn’t it? It’s not a steep climb, but it’s long, beginning around mile 17. For 5 miles it’s just up. Always up. By the time runners reach mile 22, no one is smiling.
- The finish line! Mile 26.2. This is a strange place where no one is happy, but everyone is happy.
We had a good time driving to the different points, hanging out with family, and cheering on the only person in our family crazy enough to run for 4 and a half hours solid.