Grandma’s Marathon Will Keep Half Capacity Field Limit For 2021

January 14, 2021

Organization Will Continue Working with State, Local Officials on COVID-Modified Race Plan

(DULUTH, MINN.) — Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. today announced the in-person capacity for its 2021 race weekend will not be increased due to continuing public health and safety concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Registration initially opened October 1 at half capacity for Grandma’s Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, and the William A. Irvin 5K with the hope that conditions and guidelines would improve to the point more in-person spots could be offered in the future.

“As badly as we wanted to increase our in-person capacity,” Executive Director Shane Bauer said, “we understand the importance of developing a COVID-modified race plan that can be approved by the state and executed as safely as possible for those who have already registered. Zeroing in on the expected number of participants was an important step in continuing our planning process.”

Approximately 10,000 participants are expected for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon weekend, and the organization’s local health partners believe that limiting the in-person field now gives the event the very best chance of happening in June.

“While the race is still more than five months away, we can’t set the table until we know how many are invited for dinner,” Medical Director Dr. Ben Nelson said. “We would be wise to expect that we’ll be continuing our safety precautions come June, which will almost certainly preclude hosting a full-scale Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

More information about today’s decision and the 2021 event can be found at grandmasmarathon.com on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

Those still interested in participating in the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon weekend are encouraged to reach out to one of our Charity Partners or register to run one of the weekend’s races virtually.

The 45th annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend is scheduled for June 17-19, 2021. For more information, please call our office at (218) 727-0947 or email us at grandmas@grandmasmarathon.com.



Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. There were just 150 participants that year, but organizers knew they had discovered something special. Grandma’s Marathon weekend draws approximately 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. Over time, the level of sponsorship with the restaurants changed, but the name stayed the same. Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with a 17-member Board of Directors and a nine-person, full-time staff.