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Monday, June 18, 2012

Grandma's Marathon - Duluth, MN

(Note: As always, click on any photo for a larger image)


Saturday was the 36th running of Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.  Linda's niece and sister-in-law were both running so we drove the 40 miles from our cabin in Gordon, Wisconsin to Duluth to cheer them on.

The marathon is named for Grandma's Restaurant, the only business in town that would step forward to sponsor the race back in 1977.
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We parked high on the hill above Duluth by Cascade Park and had a scenic view of the harbor, downtown buildings and the Aerial Lift Bridge as we descended to the race route on Superior Street.
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The "average" marathoners were just coming up the last hill on Superior Street and had about a mile and a half to go as they approached the downtown Welcome sign before turning toward the finish line at Canal Park.
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As at many other marathons, Cowbells are the instrument of choice for cheering the runners.  Here a runner checks their pace as a viewer anxiously watches for their runner.  If you aren't familiar with the phrase "More Cowbell," the history of it can be found here.

This race is about as multicultural as things get in Duluth.  After an initial few wins by Minnesota's pale-skinned Scandinavian runners, the Africans now regularly win the race (including this year) but are cheered on by the local belly dance club who stand and cheer in front of the local Indian restaurant.

The race passes by the famed Aerial Lift Bridge just before the finish line.  If you are not in tip-top condition, you would be better off just having a beer and watching from a pontoon boat in the harbor.
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Otherwise, you risk ending up on the ground writhing in considerable pain and agony.
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I am pretty sure that fellow was just suffering cramps and not the wrath of God, but you never know.  These ladies in Canal Park might suspect otherwise.

There are lots of good places from which you can photograph the race, but the commercial photographers do have an inside track.  You can check out their work here.
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Did I mention that the temperatures were cool?  We left Gordon, Wisconsin, with a temperature of 78 and thirty five miles later, the reading was 57.  Good for runners, but for photographers, not warm enough.  Seeing pictures of someone like this on June 16th is probably what  makes my California relatives wonder if the snow ever melts in Minnesota.

Well, cool or not, Duluth really is a pretty port town.  Just dress for San Francisco type of weather.  And don't be surprised if the weather changes several times during your stay.

Canal Park is the highlight of most people's trip.  Enjoy it - and maybe you should even stop in at Grandma's.
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