What impending storms mean for Grandma’s marathons in Duluth
What impending storms mean for Grandma’s marathons in Duluth

Grandma’s Marathon weekend is here, a great Northland tradition. This weekend sees runners put months of training to the test while volunteers and spectators cheer them on and make the weekend a fantastic experience for all.

Of course, there is one thing that no one can control: the weather. I have run in over a dozen Garry Bjorklund half marathons myself and know first-hand how crucial the weather is for everyone involved.

My best time came when it was uncomfortably cold for non-runners, and the year I finished it was a sweltering 27 degrees, and I felt like I never wanted to run again.

This year there will be neither bitter cold nor dangerous heat. However, the weather will have an impact as everyone is tracking the amount of rain and possible storms that could hit the Northland on Friday and Saturday.

With that in mind, I reached out to Zach Schneider, Marketing and PR Director for Grandma’s Marathon, to ask him questions about how the weather might impact the races and related events.

Question 1: Could excessive rain jeopardize any of the races?

Schneider does not currently believe that any of the races this weekend are in danger due to the rain. It would have to rain more than currently forecast for that to be a cause for concern.

However, if lightning strikes were to occur, they have protocols in place and would act accordingly to protect all participants. According to a Facebook post from Thursday Grandma’s Marathon, staff, board and community partners spend hundreds of hours working on contingency plans for this very reason. If severe storms move into our area, it’s possible that some of the weekend’s events will be postponed or even canceled. No one wants that to happen, but they’re prepared.

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Effective immediately, all Grandma’s Marathon races and related events will proceed as scheduled. The team will closely monitor the weather forecast and will first announce any changes for Saturday’s races at 3:00 a.m. on race day.

Question 2: What protocols apply when persistent rain is forecast?

Schneider acknowledges that rain could be a factor, but the good news is that temperatures outside are not expected to be dangerously low. However, his focus now is on teaching runners how to best brave the rain.

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Aspects to consider include:

  • Wear warm and/or waterproof layers.
  • Use anti-chafing products such as Body Glide, Vaseline, etc.
  • Wear socks made of merino wool or similar materials.
  • Runners should have dry clothes and several waterproof layers in their bags. A dry pair of shoes would also be a good idea for runners waiting at the finish line.

Question 3: How can participants receive up-to-date information throughout the weekend?

Anyone involved in any way with this weekend’s Granny Marathon activities should download the Granny Marathon app and enable push notifications to receive instant updates.

Download the Grandma’s Marathon App

You can also follow Grandma’s Marathon on social media for up-to-date information. Remember to check back often throughout the weekend, especially during thunderstorms.

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By Liam