Allen to Receive 2023 Marsh Nelson Media Award from Grandma’s Marathon

May 9, 2023

Has Played Major Role in Race Day Broadcast Since 2008

DULUTH, MINN./ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Longtime radio personality Chris Allen has been named the 2023 Marsh Nelson Media Award recipient, it was announced today by Grandma’s Marathon.

Allen actually started volunteering for Grandma’s Marathon in 1980 at a water station, and he’s been a mainstay on the event’s race day radio coverage since 2008. After first serving as a producer, Allen quickly moved into an on-air role that also included most of the advance planning and talent management.

“I am surprised to be receiving this award,” Allen said. “I am humbled being in the company of people I idolized as a kid and who all have helped make this race what it is today. Knowing I have done something to help grow Grandma’s Marathon is the best feeling in the world, and this award really means a lot to me.”

Allen has also served since 2009 as one of the weekend entertainment hosts, and he became the first musical act to play in both of the marathon’s live concert locations – he played in 1991 with Molly and the Heymakers at the Big Top and then solo in 2021 at Bayfront Festival Park.

Allen will be officially presented with his award at the 2023 Grandma’s Marathon Awards Luncheon, which is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Friday, June 16 at The Garden Event Center in Duluth.


2023 – Chris Allen

2022 – Deb Messer

2021 – n/a

2020 – n/a

2019 – Jake Benson

2018 – John Gilbert

2017 – Howie Hanson

2016 – Bob King

2015 – Townsquare Media

2014 – Marathon & Beyond

2013 – Dan Moller

2012 – Pat Cadigan

2011 – Running Times Magazine

2010 – David Jensch

2009 – Mark Stodghill

2008 – Tom Hansen

2007 – Barbara Reyelts

2006 – Chuck Curtis

2005 – Rik Jordan

2004 – Bruce Brothers

2003 – Bob Rich

2002 – Bruce Bennett

2001 – Kerry Rodd

2000 – Marsh Nelson & Kevin Pates

For interview requests or for more information, please contact Marketing & Public Relations Director Zach Schneider via email at zach@grandmasmarathon.com or via phone at

(218) 343-9874.



Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. After seeing just 150 participants that year, the race weekend has now grown into one of the largest in the United States and welcomes more than 20,000 participants for its three-race event each June.

The race got its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma’s Restaurants, the first major sponsor of the marathon. In addition to the 26.2-mile race, the organization has now added the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and William A. Irvin 5K to its weekend offerings.

As the popularity of Grandma’s Marathon has grown, our mission has stayed the same – to organize, promote, and deliver annual events and programs that cultivate running, educational, social, and charitable opportunities to our communities.

Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with a nine-person, full-time staff and a 17-member Board of Directors.