June 21, 2017 10:56 PM
She's an iconic running figure in duluth, but had not ran in her hometown and in the most notable marathon since she was breaking the course record and winning the 2012 U.S. Half Marathon Championship.
The year 2017 marked a new year for two-time Olympian Kara Koucher. Once again she crossed the finish line, not as the front runner, but in the front of the pack and was cheered on by her home crowd for her first time in five years.
"It's so fun. I mean it's like nowhere else, the whole time people are cheering for me," said Goucher. "I feel like a little rock star. It was just so much fun. Even the guys along the course who were running alongside me and cheering me on. That doesn't usually happen."
The crowd wasn't just her favorit,. but also a favorite for the women's half marathon winner Biruktayit Degefa of Etheopia who made her first trip to northeastern Minnesota.
"I say hi to everybody because I like the clapping. It was good and I waved hi," said Degefa.
For the men's marathon winner Elisha Barno of Kenya he knew what to expect from Grandma's fans lining the course. He had visited Duluth before and on Saturday, became the first athlete to claim three straight titles in the men's marathon.
"I like this race because there's so many kids cheering us and happy people. I like duluth, it's a nice city," said Barno.
For those who could not view the race, for the first time WDIO/WIRT had live streamed coverage where folks from around the world were tuning in.
We even had some of our own staff members cross the Grandma's finish line for their first time.
"It's like nothing I've ever experienced in my life. I'm so grateful. I mean, I've never pushed myself so hard," said Weekend Meteorologist Dan Romano.
Grandma's Marathon means something to everyone and even more to the community in Duluth. It brings in more than $10 million annually and thousands to the Twin Ports. It's a reason to begin planning for the next one.
Updated: June 21, 2017 10:56 PM
Created: June 21, 2017 10:09 PM
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