Spectators cheer for Grandma’s Marathon runners, despite the rain

Spectators cheer for Grandma’s Marathon runners, despite the rain

Despite the rain and the cold wind, spectators from all over the northland and beyond cheer on Grandma's Marathon runners.

For the past several decades, people around the world have run Grandma’s Marathon. Sometimes the amount of training needed to prepare for the 26.2 miles isn’t enough. Maybe the support from the crowd of spectators cheer on runners helps the most when it comes to crossing the finish line. 

Jeff Spry, Monica Przybyl-Spry, and Mary Pryzbyl watched Grandma’s Marathon runners along London Road. They still watch Grandma’s every year and said the weather could have been worse.

“Well, it rains once in a while, I guess, but it’s good for the runners.” Spry said. “It’s not preferable for us, but it beats the heat, for sure,” Pryzbyl-Spry said. “I don’t think they seem to mind, unless their feet get wet. I hear that’s a little bit miserable, but it could be worse, could be a downpour.”

Przybyl-Spry says the athletes running Grandma’s Marathon can help motivate other people for future marathons and races.

“As a non-runner, every time I watch, I get really inspired by the runners, I get motivated to wanna run the next year, but I still only watch,” Przybyl-Spry said. ” We did try to walk the 5K one year, it was a little hard. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a runner, but they really do inspire me.”

Kirstin Winters traveled several states away from Minnesota to compete in this year’s Grandma’s Marathon. She says her college friends would run in the marathon, and she decided to give it a try.

“I traveled from Oregon, my family lives here in Duluth, and I ran the half marathon. Now I’m here watching friends finish the marathon,” Winters said. “I’d always known about it, but I wasn’t a runner back then. I always had college friends who are running it year, after year, after year. So I just decided this year to try it. I’m turning 50 this year, so it was kind of like my 50 year goal.”

Winters said feeling the spectators cheer on runners and herself felt incredible. She said that as a runner and spectator, you can help with the pain as you try to finish the marathon.

“When you start to get tired get the energy of the crowds, it helps you zone out of the pain that you’re feeling and really focus on the fun. The energy is really awesome,” Winters said. “I know last year there was the worry about smoke, and then this year there was worry about storms. Everybody is just super excited to be here.”

When people run in the rain, it helps to have good shoes, breathable clothes, and, of course, plenty of water. There are several water stations along Grandma’s Marathon, but along London Road, every year there’s a unique tent. For the past ten years, Joanne Lundberg and other spectators cheer for the athletes while also offering pickles and pickle juice for runners. 

“This has been the rainiest year in a long time. But that’s why we have tarps and umbrellas. We’re Minnesotans, we’re used to this. It’s been good for the runners We haven’t gone through as much pickles this year. I think it’s just because the weather’s a little bit better,” Lundgren said. “People will be like, ‘What’s with the pickles?’ And I’m like, ‘It’s for cramping,’. The girls that we have here as our pickle girls come back every year. As they grow, they just absolutely love it, they just have a wonderful time.”

For more information about being a spectator next year at Grandma’s Marathon you can read more here. Also for other stories about Grandma’s Marathon you can read more here.