The course for Grandma's Marathon is truly amazing, offering some of the most beautiful scenery of the North Shore, as well as views of some of the historical buildings and urban highlights of Duluth and Canal Park. Here are some beautiful, fun, and wacky things to look for on the race course this weekend.
Those first wide-open views of Lake Superior
Once you start getting down the full marathon course a couple miles, you will start seeing places where there are wide-open areas to catch a view of Lake Superior as you go by.
Dinosaurs cheering you on
Just before Pine Park Road (around 10 miles in to the full marathon course), there are three metal dinosaurs that reside in someone's lawn. During the race, why not think of them as spectators cheering you on?
The first view of the Duluth skyline on the horizon
Shortly after the dinosaur encounter, around the 11-mile mark, you'll be able to catch your first view of the Duluth skyline off in the distance. Many runners talk about how they use the Aerial Lift Bridge as a beacon of sorts, being it is so near the finish line. You'll see the bridge for the first time on the course here, although it is rather small, off in the distance.
On-course entertainment a-plenty!
There are multiple spots along the course that have developed traditions to cheer on runners and wheelchair athletes as they pass by. Coming into town, there is a guy on a trampoline every year jumping in costume with music playing with a new theme every year to his music and costume. Others will offer crazy things to runners like weird foods and beer, among other items. One entertainment post along the route will feature MIX 108's Jeanne Ryan, who will be playing tunes and cheering on athletes as they pass by The Reef on London Road, around the 23-mile marker of the course.
Getting 'deceptively closer' to the finish line on Superior Street
After getting onto Superior Street, you'll catch another (much closer) view of the Aerial Lift Bridge. It's a sign you're almost there! You've made it about 23.5 miles at this point! Many seasoned runners will tell stories though, about how deceptive this looks, being you still have to head through Downtown Duluth and around Canal Park yet.
Lots of love from the crowds!
London Road, Downtown Duluth, and Canal Park are spectator hotbeds, cheering on all the athletes through the final miles of the course. Friends and family of those participating are joined by those who live in the area in cheering on all the participants and showing pride in the efforts all of them have put into training and competing. Along with the crowds, the City of Duluth has plenty of visuals displayed to show support for all the athletes.
Statue of Liberty on the Course?
Just as you're rounding the corner off 5th Avenue West onto Harbor Drive, a replica of the Statue of Liberty will be watching you run by. Erected December 11, 1976 "for the Children of Duluth", this sculpture has ties to the creator of the actual Statue of Liberty. Duluth's Lady Liberty came to be through the efforts of Raymond Bartholdi, a relative of Frederick Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the actual statue. She was moved down the harbor shoreline to its current location due to the construction of Amsoil Arena.
A passing ship through the Duluth Canal?
Depending on shipping traffic and your timing, you might catch a ship entering or leaving under the Aerial Lift Bridge as you round the corner on Harbor Drive behind the DECC.
Catch a view of the historic William A. Irvin
As you run down the final part of Harbor Drive, you'll pass by the William A. Irvin, an ore boat that is now a museum in Canal Park. It is also the namesake of the William A. Irvin 5K, which is run on Friday night of Grandma's Marathon weekend.
The 'home stretch'
Coming down that final stretch of street down Canal Park Drive offers places the landmark Aerial Lift Bridge at the end of the course, with bleachers full of spectators cheering everyone on and media members waiting to greet everyone as they cross the finish line.