Smaller turnout expected for Grandma's Marathonby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota's marquee spring athletic event will run again from Two Harbors to Duluth this weekend, although there are about 1,000 fewer runners than usual.
About 8,400 runners will run Grandma's Marathon between Two Harbors and Canal Park in downtown Duluth Saturday morning, compared with the 9,500 slots organizers have filled for the race in the last 14 years, organizers said.
Spokesman Bob Gustafson said the economy has taken its toll on the race.
"We're going to be putting some new things in place, hopefully, to prevent this from happening next year," Gustafson said.
Some of the changes include opening the registration period in July and giving participants a $10 discount if they register between July 13 and Sept. 7, Gustafson said.
Even though the number of runners is down this year, Gustafson said organizers are expecting the usual crush of spectators and tourists for the weekend.
"We attract about 50,000 to 60,000 people to the Twin Ports for this weekend and it's Duluth's biggest event," Gustafson said. "It's kind of the start of the visitor season for the Twin Ports, so it's a fun event for us to put on. It's fun for us to showcase the running community of Duluth and showcase this area to the world."
Organizers say they're looking forward to good weather and big crowds for this weekend's event.
The race starts at 7:30 tomorrow morning. The winning man and woman will each take home $10,000.
Elizabeth Baier, based in Rochester, covers news in southeastern Minnesota for MPR News.