More than four decades after they ran their very first Grandma’s Marathon, Mike Korpi and Larry McNichols will become the 9th and 10th members of the event’s 1000-Miler Club in 2021.
Korpi, a native of Soudan, Minn., ran his first Grandma’s Marathon in 1980 in a time of 3:26:59 and has been back every year since. 2021 will mark his 42nd consecutive year at this event, meaning he will have logged more than 1,100 miles on the course from Two Harbors to Duluth.
“The recognition means the world to me,” Korpi said of entering the 1,000-miler club. “I feel extremely blessed to have run every Grandma’s Marathon since 1980. It’s such a wonderfully organized race, and the volunteers and spectators make me want to return each and every year. I just love being part of Grandma’s Marathon and its history.”
McNichols, meanwhile, is a native of Morris, Minn. and will be running his 42nd Grandma’s Marathon this year. He finished with a time of 3:41:37 his first race in 1979 and, except for 2011, has been back every year since including in 2017 on the same day as his 50th wedding anniversary.
When he finishes the race in 2021, McNichols will have completed his 97th lifetime marathon. That means he’ll have run more than 2,500 marathon miles, more than 1,100 of them at Grandma’s.
“Many times, people have asked me what my favorite marathon is,” McNichols said. “It’s not hard to say that my answer is always Grandma’s. They’ve always been the best at taking care of the runners, and it means so much to me to be able to return year after year.”
Korpi and McNichols will be the 9th and 10th recipients of the prestigious Grandma’s Marathon 1,000-Miler Award, which requires participation in a minimum of 39 lifetime events. They will each receive a distinctive belt buckle at the 2021 ASICS VIP Reception, which will be held on Saturday, June 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the Harborside Ballroom at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC).