Longtime Grandma's Marathon Volunteer From Georgia Enjoys Helping with Event

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: June 19, 2019 06:18 PM

So much work, staff, and volunteers goes into organizing Grandma's Marathon. There's a special volunteer named Carolyn Mather who's a big help for the event. She's been volunteering for many years and has ran in the marathon herself.

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Carolyn comes from Georgia every year to help with the marathon. Her love for Grandma's Marathon started when she first ran the marathon in the 90's. And ever since, she’s dedicated many years helping as a volunteer for the event.

"I first ran here in 1994 at the national championships and my husband ran his first marathon here and I just love Grandma's. I fell in love with Duluth, I fell in love with the city, with the people, the staff here," Mather said. "I started coming back doing hospitality and transportation with the elite athletes. And now I come back and volunteer in the office doing whatever any of the staff need me to do."

Carolyn stays in Duluth for two weeks doing volunteer work when Grandma’s Marathon is coming up. She's well-known and loved by all the Grandma's Marathon staff and athletes.

"It’s a fun tradition and it’s definitely a sign that it’s that time of year when Carolyn comes walking into the office. It's a comfortable feeling for the elite athletes to see Carolyn in the morning at the start of their race and at the finish line. She's like a mom to the running community,” Shane Bauer, Grandma's Marathon executive director, said.

And Carolyn has an impressive history as an athlete herself.

"I have the very strange distinction of being the only woman in the world who's run over 200,000 lifetime miles,” Mather said.

She's ran 142 marathons across the world, but she says nothing compares to the one of a kind experience Grandma's Marathon offers.

"Grandma’s to me is the best marathon in the whole world. It's a world class event with small town charm and they make everybody feel like a star and that's really a big deal to marathoners,” Mather said.

Carolyn calls Duluth her second home and said the Grandma's Marathon staff has become her family over the years.

"It feels like home it really does and the Grandma’s staff is my family. They've been so good to me and so kind,” Mather said.

"We couldn't do it without her I don't think. It’s definitely not the same if Carolyn can’t make it to Grandma’s Marathon weekend," Bauer said.

Running is a passion that has given Carolyn joy and many opportunities and is more of a reason why she enjoys volunteering her time to Grandma’s Marathon.

"Running has been something that’s given me so much and I really feel like as runners giving back is really important,” Mather said.

Carolyn will be running the Irvin 5K on Friday and she'll be all over the place on Saturday helping out on the course.

WDIO is a major media partner of Grandma's Marathon. Watch for coverage leading up to race day, and live streaming of the Marathon and Half Marathon on all WDIO online platforms.


Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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