Updated: March 19, 2021 05:37 PM
Created: March 16, 2021 09:43 PM
Since 2014 many Northlanders have rung in St. Patrick's Day by racing in the Saint Fennessy 4K. Last year however it became the first event canceled by the Grandma's Marathon organization due to the pandemic. This spring hundreds, including the daughter of Fennessy himself, were excited for it's return.
For the past eight years Kellie Luedloff and her family have participated in every single Grandma's Marathon and Young Athletes Foundation (YAF) event
"Its amazing, we have volunteered for 40 plus years," Luedloff. "The YAF is near and dear to our hearts. It's just such a great tribute, it's amazing."
Her favorite is the Saint Fennessy 4K in March. That's because the festive race is named after her father Don Fennessy, who passed away in 2011.
"He was such a great volunteer, longtime friend of Grandma's Marathon, he was a board member," said Zach Schneider, the marketing and public relations director for Grandma's Marathon.
"It's amazing, it's just so touching," Luedloff said. "I had someone ask me a couple of years ago, 'does it upset you to have people talk about your parents?' It's like, no! I find that to just be amazing because in the end don't we all want to have touched so many people?"
Now the race serves as a tribute to his decades of hard work while honoring his Irish heritage.
"My dad was 100% Irish and when they got married, my mom and dad's anniversary was on St. Patrick's day," Luedloff said.
The Fennessy tradition of combining a love for fitness and family lives on thanks in part to Kellie.
"That's gotten, as you see, passed down to his family, to the next generation, to the next generation, which is amazing," Schneider said.
It's also kept up and running by some families Don never met, like the Jim Brickey and Kingston Brickey.
"I've done the Grandma's half [marathon] for, this will be my 11th year, and then as soon as [Kingston] kind of started to get ready around three or four we started doing all these ones together," Jim said. "So yeah it's kind of a dad and son thing."
Luedloff said she couldn't imagine a better tribute to her father than the annual Saint Fennessy 4K in Hermantown.
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