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Articles tagged #Grandma's Marathon
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Addi Zerrenner, 23, made her debut at Grandma's Marathon and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Addi Zerrenner, 23, made her debut at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., and completed the 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 37 minutes, 51 seconds. The time met the qualifying standard (2:45) for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. It also was the ninth fastest time in the women's field finisher and the 145th overall.

But more than anything else, the race established her as a marathoner.

"It’s been a long time coming," she said. "I always wanted to be a marathoner since high school." 

She used to tell people she was a marathoner and the first thing she'd be asked was what was her best time. Sheepishly, she'd reply, "Well, I've never run one."

That all changed when she crossed the finish line at Grandma's.

"It was like the day was finally here. I’m finally the person who I always thought of myself as." she said.

Zerrenner expected to run close to 2:45, "but I was also going into the race with no expectations because I heard so much about the marathon and that you can never underestimate it. I went through every different type of emotion in the race." 

Her coach, Terry Howell of Santa Barbara, saw Zerrenner's potential as a marathon runner.

“I definitely saw her potential fairly quickly, not only her physical potential but her mental toughness. Addi is super focused and when she gets locked in on a task or goal she just gets it done,” he said.

“The plan all along was to move her up to the marathon distance,” he said of her training. “But I thought it might take us 12-18 months of training before we even thought about running one. Her training, however, accelerated fairly quickly and she responded well to the added distance and harder training sessions.”

(07/03/2019) ⚡AMP
by Barry Punzal
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, from July 24 to August 9, 2020. The Games in 1964 radically transformed the country. According to the organizers of the event in 2020, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era will be “the most innovative...

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Kenyan Boniface Kongin wins men's Grandma's Marathon clocking 2:11:56

Kenyan Boniface Kongin, who entered in the citizen field after the elite field filled up, won his first Grandma's Marathon men's race Saturday by overcoming hamstring and Achilles problems to win in  2 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds.

Kongin, who has stayed in West Duluth and trained in town since arriving April 19, stopped several times during the 26.2-mile race and walked across the finish line while pointing to the sky and dropping to his knees.

Kongin won the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 5 in a personal-best time of 2:10:34 but injured his left hamstring and right Achilles in the process. Running a 2:06 pace nearly halfway through the race, he slowed down several times in the last half of the race as his ailments worsened.

He beat runner-up Andrew Colley of Blowing Rock, N.C., by 17 seconds. Harbert Okuti of Uganda was third, 1:05 off the pace.

Four-time defending champion Elisha Barno and course-record holder Dominic Ondoro each finished outside the top 10.

 

(06/22/2019) ⚡AMP
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Grandmas Marathon

Grandmas Marathon

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. The marathon received its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma's restaurants, its first major sponsor. The level of sponsorship with the...

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Darrell Christensen will be the oldest runner in the Grandma's Marathon as he is set for his eighth race

Darrell Christensen, of Bloomington, Minn., is 81 years old and age hasn’t stopped him from running Grandma’s Marathon.

Christensen will be the oldest runner pounding the pavement Saturday, and he’s looking forward to it.

“I love Grandma’s Marathon. I think it’s a wonderful race,” he said. “It’s just fun coming to Duluth for a few days with some friends and other runners.”

Christensen didn’t start running until he was 60, after he retired. He said he would see people running around a lake near where he lived in Bloomington and he decided to try it himself.

“I couldn’t run half a mile to start with,” Christensen said. “Eventually, by the end of that summer, I could run once or twice around the lake for three or four miles.”

The next year, Christensen said, he ran a 5K and a 10K. A year later, in 1999, he ran a 10-mile race, and the following year, he ran his first marathon.

“I didn’t do so well and I was very disappointed, so I didn’t run another marathon for three years,” Christensen said.

He said that after his first marathon he started training with a running group, and in 2003 he tried running a marathon again and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

“So I went from my first marathon and doing poorly to my next marathon three years later and qualifying for Boston,” Christensen said.

Christensen ran the Boston Marathon twice, once in 2004 and once in 2008.

“I never thought I would qualify to run in the Boston Marathon, but it was a great experience,” he said.

Christensen said this will be about his eighth time running in Grandma’s, and even though he doesn’t have high goals set, he does have one.

“A few years ago I did under four hours, but last year I did poorly and was over six hours,” Christensen said. “I would like to break six hours this year.”

Christensen said he wasn’t very prepared last year. A few injuries this year sidelined him for a week, but those injuries have healed and he feels prepared for Saturday, he said.

Christensen said in the past he has relied on those handing out water and other things for nutrition along the route. This year he plans on bringing as much with him as he can as well as having his wife meet him along the course with more. Christensen also learned from his mistakes last year regarding his pace.

“Last year I started out fast,” he said. “I hadn’t run a marathon in three years at that point, so I learned I should not come out at a five-hour pace when I know I can’t do it. So slower to start and faster as I progress.”

Christensen said he may stop running marathons in a few years, though he plans to run as long as he can.

“It isn’t my goal to stop running,” he said. “If I am still able and running, I’ll certainly try Grandma’s Marathon again.”

(06/19/2019) ⚡AMP
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Grandmas Marathon

Grandmas Marathon

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. The marathon received its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma's restaurants, its first major sponsor. The level of sponsorship with the...

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Colby Mehmen is living in his blue 1976 Chevrolet camper van, Pursuing His Olympic Dream

Colby Mehmen's daily routine is simple: Wake up, run, eat, sleep, work, and do it all again tomorrow. Sounds like the lifestyle of a sponsored pro, but for the 24-year-old reigning Dallas Marathon champ, it is the pursuit of his Olympic Marathon Trials dream-something that he's living out while living in his blue 1976 Chevrolet camper van.

The van has been his home since his fifth year at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he competed on the cross-country and track teams. Prior to that, the Texas native had been good, but never great. Then he met his college teammates, who showed him what it took to compete at a higher level.

This required pushing mileage into the triple digits, starting with 100-mile weeks his freshman year and building up to as much as 150 in a week. The fruits of his labors were there, as he posted his best times in the 10K (29:34) and 5K (14:24). Yet with an option for a fifth year, he decided to take his final year off.

Without a scholarship, money would be tight, so he came up with a plan.

"I bought the van and just lived in it for my fifth year," Mehmen said. "But my life was simple: I'd run, get back in the van, change, go to class, eat, and sleep. It was also nice that I had the rec center to shower."

Mehmen's college experience turned out to be a good road map for successful nomadic living. Cooking simple meals-Mehmen shoots for 4500 calories a day with meals like tacos, Cream of Wheat, rice, and barbecued chicken-was easy on his propane stove. When he wasn't running, eating, or sleeping, he was working part time, splitting his time among a running store, coaching online, and his own apparel company, Nomad Running Co.

The only thing lacking in his van-dwelling existence is a fridge, something he is still looking to remedy. Currently, he freezes food in a cooler.

For some, this may be a ludicrous monastic lifestyle of simplicity. For Mehmen, he wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's amazing; I can park near any of my favorite running spots, wake up, and just run them," Mehmen said. "It's an adventure every day. I'm exploring things day in and day out."

His next chance to qualify will come at Grandma's Marathon in June. With little else to worry about right now, Mehmen will continue on in his van, going after his dream.

"Right now, the plan is to run the Trials, and I'm not sure how far I'll take it after that, but [I still have] two or three years left in the van," he said. "I only get one chance to do this in my life, so I'm going to take advantage of it."

(06/01/2019) ⚡AMP
by Andrew Dawson
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Grandmas Marathon

Grandmas Marathon

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. The marathon received its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma's restaurants, its first major sponsor. The level of sponsorship with the...

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Registration for the 43rd running of Grandma's Marathon will close June 1

Registration for the 43rd running of Grandma's Marathon will remain open through Saturday, June 1. The country’s 11th largest marathon is currently at 95% capacity for the June 22 event. Registration will close on June 1 at 11:59 p.m. or if the race course capacity of 9,000 runners is met beforehand. Runners can register for Grandma’s Marathon by visiting GrandmasMarathon.com. The entry fee is currently $145.

Grandma's Marathon weekend also features the 29th annual Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the 26th annual William A. Irvin 5K. The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon is Saturday, June 22 at 6:15 a.m. and the William A. Irvin 5K is Friday, June 21 at 6:00 p.m. Registration for both the half marathon and 5K are closed.

In order to provide the complete support that is needed for Grandma’s Marathon weekend, there are still numerous volunteer positions remaining. Volunteer positions include areas such as sustainability (green team), traffic and spectator control, water station assistance, medical services, racecourse entertainment, finish area activities, and the William A. Irvin 5K on Friday.

This year in particular requires more volunteers than last year due to the increased focus on sustainability initiatives.

The additional volunteers will assist with sorting and disposing of discarded items at various green stations located throughout Canal Park. The increased sustainability initiatives are being introduced as Grandma’s Marathon works towards their long-term goal of becoming a zero waste event.

(05/30/2019) ⚡AMP
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Grandmas Marathon

Grandmas Marathon

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. The marathon received its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma's restaurants, its first major sponsor. The level of sponsorship with the...

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Kenya's Elisha Barno will be going after his fifth win at the Grandma's Marathon June 22

Already the only man to win four consecutive Grandma's Marathons, Kenya's Elisha Barno will strive for No. 5 at the 43rd installment of Minnesota's oldest marathon on June 22.

And he'll bring along his buddy and countryman, Grandma's record-holder Dominic Ondoro. Their New Mexico-based agent, Scott Robinson, confirmed both are planning to race in Duluth. And while that could change, it's an exciting prospect.

In winning for the fourth straight year last June, Barno produced the third-fastest time in event history — 2 hours, 10 minutes and 6 seconds. Speedy as that was, it's a minute slower than the 2:09:06 Ondoro unleashed in 2014 when he bumped Dick Beardsley from the top spot.

Barno will arrive in the Northland riding a swell of success. Following three straight runner-up finishes (all to Ondoro), he finally broke through, and broke the tape, at the Twin Cities Marathon last October. And on March 24, he won the closest Los Angeles Marathon ever contested, nudging John Korir by seven seconds.

Barno and Ondoro will headline what figures to be a loaded field of elites.

"It's going to be an exciting year," Grandma's executive director Shane Bauer said. "I think we're all looking forward to what's going to happen at the finish line this year."

While the defending champ and fastest finisher return to the men's race, the same won't be true on the women's side. Kellyn Taylor, who blew away the competition at Grandma's in 2018 by coming through in an event-record 2:24:28, won't be back.

(05/10/2019) ⚡AMP
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Grandmas Marathon

Grandmas Marathon

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. The marathon received its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma's restaurants, its first major sponsor. The level of sponsorship with the...

more...
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Elisha Barno crosses the finish line to win the men's title at the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday

A familiar name finally claimed victory at Sunday's Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. After finishing as runner-up the past three years, Elisha Barno broke through and won the men's title with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 58 seconds. Sinke Biyadgilgn won the women's marathon title with a time of 2:33:04. Race officials reported that more than 6,800 runners finished the 37th annual marathon, while a record 10,896 runners finished the accompanying 20th annual Medtronic TC 10 Mile race. Runners took to the two course on a cool, calm morning, with temperatures in the 40s. Barno, who is from Kenya and trains in New Mexico, also has won the past four Grandma's Marathons in Duluth. On Sunday he finished 14 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, fellow Kenyan Boniface Kongin. Race officials reported that Barno took the lead at Mile 25. "I tried to push and I saw Boniface was very strong," Barno said in a post-race news release. "Boniface put on a surge and I was right with him. I feel very happy and feel like I want to cry — to be a champion is not easy." Biyadgilgn, of Ethiopia, won the women's marathon title with a time of 2:33:04. That's six seconds ahead of second-place finisher, Ethiopia's Serkalem Abrha. (10/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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Registration for the 43rd Grandma's Marathon Weekend opens October 1

Registration opens for the Grandma's Marathon, Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the William A. Irvin 5K at 7pm Central Time October 1.  Entries will be taken on a first come, first serve basis until the full marathon reaches 9,000 participants. Those who register to run the 26.2-mile race before December 31 will receive a free commemorative full-zip jacket. After December 31, runners will have the option to purchase the jacket. The entry process for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon will no longer include a lottery. Registration will also be first come, first serve until the cap of 7,500 participants is met. Registration for the half is expected to reach capacity very quickly, as last year's registration closed in approximately four hours. The William A. Irvin 5K is limited to the first 2,000 participants. All finishers of the 3.1-mile race will be awarded with a medal and finisher shirt. (09/27/2018) ⚡AMP
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Kellyn Taylor sets women's record at Grandma's Marathon breaking her PR by over four minutes

Just 61 days after dropping out of the Boston Marathon, Kellyn Taylor of Flagstaff, Ariz., found the 42nd Grandma's Marathon much more to her liking, crushing the Grandma's women's record by more than two minutes — winning in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 29 seconds. This was a PR by four minutes.  American women Marathon Runners are on fire.  In the men’s race, Kenya's Elisha Barno became the first runner in the 42 years of Grandma's Marathon to win four straight men's titles. Taylor, 31, a U.S. Olympic marathon hopeful for the 2020 Summer Games, really didn't have any competition over the 26.2 miles from south of Two Harbors to Duluth's Canal Park. Kellyn earned $20,000 from a $100,000 prize money purse. Askale Merachi, 31, of Ethiopia was second for a second straight year, in a personal-best 2:30:18. Serkalem Abrha, 31, of Ethiopia was third in 2:33:44. Kenyan Sarah Kiptoo set the Grandma's women's course mark of 2:26:32 in 2013. Until Saturday, East African women had won eight straight titles.  (06/16/2018) ⚡AMP
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Shane Keating could have been paralyzed but runs the Grandma's Marathon to remind him that he got a 2nd chance

When Shane Keating will run past St. Luke's hospital in downtown Duluth during this weekend Grandma's Marathon it will remind him that he was given a second chance.  It was there where he had spinal fusion surgery after breaking his back in a 2005 sledding accident. Keating, who could have been paralyzed, runs Grandmas to remind himself that he’s been given a second chance. He will pass this spot about 24 miles into the Marathon.  36-year-old, Keating  from Foley, Minn ought to be less than 25 minutes from the finish line. Regardless of the pain inundating his quads and calves, Keating will be flooded with gratitude as he approaches St. Luke's at 10th Avenue East. It was there, 13 years earlier, that the then-St. Scholastica senior underwent spinal-fusion surgery. Keating should be paralyzed from the waist down, his only involvement in a Grandma's race requiring a wheelchair.  The neurosurgeon told Keating's parents, in January 2005, "Looking at this X-ray, I cannot explain to you why your son can walk. There is no reason he isn't paralyzed. If you believe in miracles, this is one. If you believe in blind luck, your son just hit the Powerball." (06/13/2018) ⚡AMP
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Jarrow Wahman is looking to finish his 21st Grandma's Marathon

Jarrow Wahman of Duluth, Minn is among the more than 8,200 running this weekend. The 42nd Grandma's Marathon is Saturday June 16 and if things go his way, the co-owner of the Austin-Jarrow shoe store will have completed half of them. His only non-finish was in 1989 from soreness after a busy spring of racing hard. "I didn't make it very far and I can't believe I dropped out of grandmas marathon - the circumstances were pretty bad," says Wahman. He's doing good these days. While down from the 80-100 miles per week he'd run in his 30's, he's still putting in 30-40 miles per week in his 50's. "I'm not racing Grandma's anymore, but I'm trying to finish with honor every year. I am getting slower, but I still enjoy it and it is still a blast and seeing all the people and finishing is great," says Wahman. For Jarrow - there's passion in putting in the miles. "I like running marathons and I have run marathons all over the country and a few races out of the country," says Wahman. He's run roughly 45 marathons. "It is so great to hop out of bed and go to the starting line. It is really the only marathon I do anymore and it is just right down there," says Wahman. Most of his runs at Grandma's Marathon have been sub-three hours. In 1985, he set a personal record with a time of just under 2 hours and 25 minutes, placing 27th overall. So, what is this year's goal? "Two years ago, my time was 3:20 and last year it was 3:06, so I'm hoping for somewhere in between," says Wahman.  No matter his time, in between is where he'll be with a 21st finish in the 42nd Grandma's Marathon.  Bill Austin and Jarrow Wahman opened Duluth's first running store in 1984. (06/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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Doctor from Haiti set to run Grandma's Half Marathon for his 400 diabetic patients

Grandma's Marathon hosts runners from all over the world. This year, one doctor from Haiti will go the distance for the sake of his patients who mean the world to him. Dr. Emmanuel "Manno" Mareus cares for 400 diabetic patients in Limbe, Haiti. One hundred of them are insulin dependent. Dr. Manno said, "in Haiti if you live in the country side area, being a diabetic is a death sentence." He says insulin treatments costs 50 dollars a month. For most of his patients who only make a dollar a day, that means staying alive is not affordable. Dr. Manno, though, doesn't put a price tag on life. "It's a big family," he said. "They're the reason why I wake up every morning. They give my life a sense." He's taking his practice outside of the clinic and running 13.1 miles in his patients' shoes.  "Last year when I was here, I heard about this race and I said I'd like to do it to raise money for the diabetic patients that cannot afford insulin." Dr. Manno has been training for Grandma's Half Marathon for over a year. "All I want is to be able to get more insulin and not be able to say to patients we don't have insulin," he said. "That's the worst experience for me when we run out and don't have money to buy it." Dr. Manno will not turn patients away even if they cannot afford his care. It's what he calls 'agape care.' (06/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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Grandma's Marathon has surpassed one million dollars in charity contributions

As of June 1st, the year-round charity organization of Grandma’s Marathon, the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF), has surpassed one million dollars in contributions to area nonprofit organizations that are focused on youth fitness. The main focus of the organization is to promote the growth of young athletes in the region. Through this arm of Grandma’s Marathon, the foundation helps community members and businesses that inspire kids to be healthy and provide access to athletic opportunities for those who may not be able to participate otherwise. The Young Athletes Foundation does this in a few different ways. The first community initiative of the YAF is the ? Grant Program?. It started in 1990 with the goal of providing money to nonprofit organizations in Lake, Cook, Carlton, Douglas, and St. Louis Counties that strive to provide children with opportunities to participate in recreational activities. In addition, the Young Athletes Foundation awards a $1,200 scholarship annually to one male and one female UMD cross-country runner with roots in the YAF geographic boundaries. Altogether, the YAF has granted over $700,000 to area youth organizations.  (06/11/2018) ⚡AMP
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Kellyn Taylor, one of the top female marathoners, will compete in the 42nd annual Grandma's Marathon

Kellyn Taylor, one of the top female marathoners in the United States, is coming to Duluth. The 31-year-old Taylor will compete in the 42nd annual Grandma's Marathon on June 16, two months after historically miserable weather kept her from finishing the Boston Marathon. "After a tough race at Boston I have the unique opportunity to utilize the fitness I gained but didn't use during that segment," Taylor said in a Wednesday news release from her team, Hoka Northern Arizona Elite. "The city of Duluth is beautiful and I cannot wait to take the 26.2-mile scenic tour." Taylor should know a thing or two about the region. Her hometown is Sussex, Wis., about 20 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Her personal best in the marathon is 2 hours, 28 minutes and 40 seconds, which she produced in her debut at the distance, a sixth-place showing at the 2015 Houston Marathon. (05/24/2018) ⚡AMP
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Dan Conway, national and world champion in masters running, died Sunday after a battle with pancreatic cancer

Jess Koski had heard 'em all. Whenever his friend, Dan Conway, started in on another tale, Koski would hold up his fingers — as in, here's how many times I've heard this one, Dan. Often, Conway proceeded, undeterred. Which jibes with his recently published book, "Carry on Regardless." "Storytellers, they just have to tell stories," Koski said. Conway's frequently were laced with humor. He liked to see people smile. "It was almost impossible to not be happy around him," said Evan Walpole, a 2013 graduate of Superior High School, where he ran for Conway's cross-country team. That held true even after Conway, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early February, entered Solvay Hospice House in Duluth on April 20, when he was given less than a week to live. Surrounded by friends, family and music, he made it a month. The Superior resident finally succumbed to the disease on Sunday afternoon. He was 79. Through many titles, Conway is perhaps best known as a world-class runner, a pursuit he didn't take all that seriously until he was in his late 30s. He made up for lost time, morphing into a national and world masters champion, which earned him a 15-year Nike sponsorship. This former football player — he competed in the sport at Wisconsin-Superior after graduating from Superior Cathedral in 1957 — could cruise. Conway claimed four national masters titles in the 10K and 15K, won the world masters 10K championship and set a then-world indoor mile record for the 50-54 age group (4:41.31). He added seven national masters indoor crowns in the mile and 2-mile, plus four outdoor titles over 1,500 and 5,000 meters. Conway also is a four-time Grandma's Marathon masters champ and still holds two age-group records for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, 1:18:04 for 55-59 and 1:25:00 for 65-69. (05/22/2018) ⚡AMP
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Two-Time Olympian, Goucher will compete in Bjorklund Half Marathon at Grandma's

Kara Goucher will compete in the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon for the second straight year. The Duluth native and two-time U.S. Olympian announced on Twitter that she will return to her hometown to run in the race, which is part of Grandma's Marathon Weekend. In 2017, she finished fifth with a time of 1:15.11. Ethiopian Biruktayit Degefa won with a time of 1:11:26. (05/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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Champion from the last year set to compete and defend his Grandma's Marathon Title

A year ago, Elisha Barno became the first man ever to three-peat at Grandma's, finishing in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 6 seconds, his slowest winning time but 86 seconds faster than second-place Geoffrey Bundi. Barno's fellow Kenyan and last year's women's champ, Hellen Jepkurgat, similarly plans to return. Jepkurgat won her Grandma's debut in 2017, covering the Two Harbors-to-Duluth course in 2:32:09. Sarah Kiptoo, the female course record-holder, is expected back, as well. Kiptoo, also of Kenya, ran a 2:26:32 while winning in 2013, then nabbed her second victory along the North Shore in 2016 (2:33:28). (05/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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