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Grandma’s races include post-race celebration

As the oldest road race in northern Minnesota celebrates its 50th anniversary next week, the 2021 Park Point 5-Miler & 2-Mile Walk will also mark a return to more normal race operations following a year of modified events.

This race was the first to return for Grandma’s Marathon and the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF) following the COVID-19 shutdown, with that 2020 event featuring a wave start process staged across the entire day to help keep participants properly socially distanced.

Now, a year later, organizers say this event will be their first since the start of the pandemic to return to a more traditional start line process.

“Things have come full circle, in a way,” Race Director Greg Haapala said. “We did what we had to last year, but I think we all felt that sense of community was missing. We’re excited this year to move back to more of a mass start, but there will still be extra space and other modifications to help our participants, volunteers, and staff keep health and safety top of mind.”

This year’s 5-Mile run is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, with the 2-Mile walk starting 10 minutes later at 6:40 p.m. The course starts and finishes near the Park Point Beach House and takes participants out and back on Minnesota Avenue between Lake Superior and the Duluth Harbor.

More than 400 in-person participants are already registered for the event, which also has a virtual option available. To register or for more information, please visit grandmasmarathon.com.

The Park Point Kids’ Races are also scheduled for Thursday, July 15. They are free and open to anyone ages 12 and under, and they start at 5:30 p.m. near the playground at Park Point.

A post-race celebration is also planned this year to commemorate the 50th year of the Park Point 5-Miler & 2-Mile Walk, which was started in 1972 by the North Shore Striders. Grandma’s Restaurant will be providing beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and each finisher will receive a free drink ticket. A cash bar will also be available, and live music will start near the Park Point Beach House at 7:00 p.m.

Minnesota Avenue will be closed to traffic on the day of the race between 22nd Avenue and the Park Point Beach House from 6:00-7:45 p.m. Participants should plan to arrive early to avoid delays or closures, and other motorists are asked to be aware of the traffic advisory if trying to access Park Point on that day.

Published in Grandma's Marathon Sports

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