(DULUTH, MINN.) --- A running club that showed vision and persistence in the humble beginnings of what is now one of the largest road races in the United States will again be together for a Duluth reunion during the 2022 Grandma’s Marathon weekend.
The North Shore Striders will be hosting a reunion for its members, albeit a year later than planned after last year’s 45th anniversary celebration was derailed by COVID-19 and a modified race weekend.
“Grandma’s Marathon, quite simply, would not exist today without the work done by the North Shore Striders,” founding executive director Scott Keenan said. “It was a special group of people that shared a special dream, and it’s fun now to come together to celebrate what Grandma’s Marathon has become due, in large part, to the effort we put in decades ago.”
More than 100 past members of the North Shore Striders are expected to attend the weekend-long event, which will be highlighted by a special Friday night celebration.
“The Striders will always have a special connection to the race,” current Grandma’s Marathon executive director Shane Bauer said. “That group of runners just wanted to host an event it could call its own, but that’s now grown into something the entire community participates in and can be proud of. We’re honored to be continuing their legacy and are looking forward to celebrating that group again this summer.”
The North Shore Striders started in 1968 as a competitive track and field club and included in its membership future U.S. Olympian Garry Bjorklund. Starting in 1972, the club began to organize 15 to 20 road races per year, and eventually reaches its peak paid membership of 120 in 1978.
“The goal back then was to host events, run them, and maybe have a few cold beers afterward,” said Keenan, who was the president of the North Shore Striders in 1977 when Grandma’s Marathon began. “It was a fun social organization for us. We just loved what we were doing, plain and simple.”
Media is invited to attend the North Shore Striders celebration on Friday, June 17 at The Garden Event Center in Canal Park. The event starts at 7:00 p.m. and is expected to run until approximately 9:00 p.m. Keenan and other members of the club will be available for interviews.
If any community members were themselves or know of a past member of the North Shore Striders and interested in attending the reunion, we encourage them to contact Grandma’s Marathon no later than May 15, 2022 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be invited.
ABOUT GRANDMA’S MARATHON
Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. There were just 150 participants that year, but organizers knew they had discovered something special. Grandma’s Marathon weekend draws more than 20,000 participants for its three-race event each June.
The race got its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma’s Restaurants, the first major sponsor of the marathon. Over time, the level of sponsorship with the restaurants changed, but the name stayed the same. Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with a 17-member Board of Directors and a nine-person, full-time staff.