Updated: June 22, 2019 10:25 PM
The 43rd Annual Grandma’s Marathon kicked off to an exciting start in Two Harbors Saturday.
There’s many emotions and a huge sense of accomplishment from the runners crossing the finish line.
"The course is phenomenal people travel around the world to run this race,” Aaron Pike, the champion of the men’s wheelchair division, said. Pike has been part of Grandma's Marathon since 2009.
Over 20,000 race participants took part in the full and half marathon. This year's race counted as an Olympic qualifier.
“It’s great watching from the finish line perspective and seeing people looking a the clock and realizing they made that time and going further with their Olympic dream,” said Leah Hulst. She’s known as Grandma Rosa, the first person to greet runners at the finish line.
"The course was great, the weather was good, a little bit of sun but I can’t complain seeing Lake Superior to the left of us was awesome,” Andrew Chirico, a full marathon participant, said.
Chirico came all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, to race his first Grandma's Marathon and overall fifth marathon.
"I ran a 2:38 and coming off of Boston a 2:45 so it was a big accomplishment,” Chirico said.
The big talk was breaking records, with two first-time champions in the full marathon and a new course record in the wheelchair division. Another big topic was how nice the weather was this year for the race.
"That's wonderful for runners it's a good cool run out there but on the other hand sometimes it makes the runners think that they can go a little faster than they should,” Hulst said.
Hulst said there was a lot of people cramping at the finish line. Thankfully, Grandma’s Marathon has a medical team on scene to help race participants.
"It was probably my hardest marathon ever to be honest I went out very hard and kinda blew up but I’m just glad to still be standing,” Michelle Crokum, a full marathon participant, said.
It was Crokum’s second time running the marathon. She came from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to run the race.
"The last couple miles was actually easier and the last mile you have the crowd the whole time and they're going crazy so that really helped,” Nell Rojas, the champion of the women's full marathon, said.
It was Nell’s first Grandma’s Marathon and her overall second marathon she ran.
"I know how to push myself now and I know what I can do,” Rojas said.
Some race participants were rocking some interesting costumes on the race course, like Andre Couture, who wore a banana costume throughout the whole race.
"The crowd really enjoyed the suit is I feel like their energy really helped me get through those last miles,” Andre Couture, a first time half marathon participant, said.
While Crokum wore a hotdog costume throughout the course.
"The record I think I got was the fastest woman in a costume. It was 3:19:57 and I ran 3:18 today," Crokum said.
This year’s theme is "Take the Scenic Route" Highway 61's breathtaking views is what many runners say is the best part of the course.
"To be out here with the woods on one side and the lake on the other side, honestly I feel like it’s just this fresh beautiful woodsy time to be outside and I love that about Grandma’s, the course is my favorite part,” Susannah Scaroni, the champion of the women's wheelchair division, said. Scaroni has been competitng in Grandma's Marathon since 2012.
Whether it’s beating personal records, overcoming hardships, or just running for fun, runners and spectators say Grandma's Marathon is a one of a kind experience and well worth it.
For more information on race results, go to www.grandmasmarathon.com.
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.
Updated: June 22, 2019 10:25 PM
Created: June 22, 2019 04:47 PM
Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved