Hal Higdon pausing prior to competition

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If this is Grandma’s, it must be Duluth

by Hal Higdon

Six-year-old Nicholas looked seriously at my wife and asked: “Is this your race, Grandma?"

Rose couldn’t understand what Nick meant, so he repeated the question: "Is this your race?"

She finally realized that Nick was wondering about Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. The event actually gets its name from a restaurant near the finish line: Grandma's Saloon & Deli, an early sponsor. Wells Fargo Bank and Target now provide more sponsor money, but the name remains part of the mystique of this marathon along Lake Superior's North Shore. With more than 9,000 runners, Grandma's is the 11th largest marathon in the United States, the only one that large not in a major urban center. (Duluth's population is 85,000.)
Rose confessed to Nick that the race was not named after her, nor was she running it. Those duties passed to Grandpa Hal on the eve of my 70th birthday. Grandma’s Marathon on June 16 (at right) would be my last race as a 69-year-old before moving into a new age group on June 17. It seemed fitting to run the marathon as part of my birthday celebration, but was one marathon enough?  

From Hal Higdon’s website, there is more …. to this story.

Photo from Wkimedia Commons.

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