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Spectators, post-race celebration back in 2021 Grandma’s Marathon plan

By Zach Schneider
A loosening of the state’s public health guidelines, announced last week by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, has paved the way for the return of two traditional and popular pieces of Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

Based on the Governor’s expected timeline of eliminating capacity limits and distancing requirements, organizers say they will now be able to welcome spectators on race weekend and host a post-race celebration.

“Those things were crossed off pretty early in our planning process based on the previous guidelines, and the result was going to be a very different feeling come race weekend,” Grandma’s Marathon Executive Director Shane Bauer said. “Bringing those pieces back will not only amplify the experience of our participants, but it’s great for our community members who wait all year to be part of Grandma’s Marathon weekend.”

Spectators were originally discouraged from attending this year’s Grandma’s Marathon, but the updated guidance will now allow those who wish to watch the races to do so.

“It’s great to be adding that community aspect back into our plans for June,” said Race Director Greg Haapala. “That said, we will be keeping some of the mitigation tactics in place to help keep some of those large groups from forming, and we ask that everyone who does attend is mindful and respectful of others.”

The post-race celebration will be in a new location this year, moving from near the finish line in Canal Park to Bayfront Festival Park. Live musical acts will be featured throughout race day, and admission will be free for all ages in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Grandma’s Marathon.

Amid the excitement of what the new guidelines allow, organizers want to remind anyone planning on participating, volunteering, or attending Grandma’s Marathon that personal responsibility will still play a major role in the weekend’s overall success.

It’s expected that Grandma’s Marathon will be one of the country’s first major running events to return following the COVID-19 pandemic, so plenty of eyes will be on Duluth this June.

Masks or face coverings, according to the expected guidelines, will be required in all race-controlled areas with more than 500 people in attendance. Organizers expect that to include the start and finish areas, Bayfront Festival Park, the Michelina’s All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, and the Essentia Health Fitness Expo.

As in the originally released plan, participants will not be required to wear a mask or face covering while actively participating in their race.

Grandma’s Marathon weekend will be held June 17-19, 2021.

Published in Grandma's Marathon Sports

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