Participants in the 42nd annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend will have the first opportunity to experience a modified race course for both the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and Grandma’s Marathon due to a construction project that is underway to transform downtown Duluth.
Historically, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon follows the same course as Grandma’s Marathon which runs along the shoreline of Lake Superior, through downtown Duluth, and finishes in Canal Park. That feature will not change as a majority of the course will remain the same. The modification only affects a small portion that will temporarily be rerouted during Mile 11 of the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and Mile 24 of Grandma’s Marathon.
As race participants make their way through downtown Duluth, they will continue along Superior Street until they cross 4th Avenue East. They will then make a left turn off of Superior Street and proceed down to Michigan Street where they will have the opportunity to experience a unique section of downtown for the subsequent nine blocks. Participants will travel west on Michigan Street until they reach 5th Avenue West near the Mile 25 mark to reconnect with the original course that guides them to the iconic finish line.
The reroute will be in effect for the 2018-2020 race seasons and is contingent on the phases of the City of Duluth’s reconstruction plan. The plan includes three construction seasons where segments of Superior Street will be revitalized by a new road surface, the replacement of public utilities and improvement of pedestrian connection areas.
“We collaborated with city officials and local organizations to facilitate the course change, and this slightly modified route will provide this year’s participants the distinction of being the first to race on the new section in June, which now includes almost the entire path of Bob Dylan Way,” said Grandma’s Marathon Executive Director Shane Bauer.
The course has been measured and certified by USA Track and Field, and the modification has virtually no impact on the start or finish line locations. The Mile 25 aid station will be located near the corner of 5th Avenue West and Michigan Street.
Spectators will have limited access to the rerouted section of the course along Michigan Street and it is recommended to plan out viewing strategies in advance to accommodate the change.
“We are fine tuning the logistics that will affect the spectators, and working on a communication plan so that people are aware of the optimal locations to cheer for their friends and family members on race day.” said Race Director Greg Haapala.
For more information on the reconstruction of Superior Street, visit www.superiorstreet.org.