2020 Grandma’s Marathon Canceled Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Race Weekend Was Scheduled for June 19-20, 2020
grandmas marathon

(courtesy: Grandma’s Marathon)

DULUTH, Minn. – Grandma’s Marathon is canceled for 2020 amid growing concerns over coronavirus.

Race weekend was scheduled for June 19-20, 2020.

The decision comes after careful deliberation by the Grandma’s Marathon staff and board of directors along with medical and public agency leaders in an effort to keep participants, volunteers, partners, spectators, and the community as a whole safe during the pandemic and not detract valuable resources away from local health systems.

“Grandma’s Marathon brings thousands of people from our community and the world together. This year, in the context of a global pandemic, it would be dangerous to host the marathon. A few asymptomatic runners, spectators or volunteers could transmit the virus to hundreds of others. Increases viral transmission would lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases in our region, a percentage of which would cause severe illness, hospitalization, and even death. This would have the potential to overwhelm our medical system and threaten the safety of our community. We expect the coronavirus outbreak to worsen this Spring. Models are predicting a surge of COVID-19 cases during the month of our marathon. In a typical year, our marathon doubles the population of Duluth and can generate enough ill runners to consume all of Duluth’s medical resources. We expect Duluth’s hospitals and medical professionals to be under incredible stress this June. Recruiting volunteer physicians and nurses to staff for the marathon medical tent is unlikely. This June, Duluth’s doctors, nurses, and hospital beds need to be available to treat critically ill coronavirus patients. Grandma’s Marathon promotes community and health. The best way to protect these is to cancel the 2020 marathon,” said Grandma’s Marathon medical director and Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Physician at Essentia Health, Dr. Ben Nelson

This year would have marked the 44th annual Grandma’s Marathon.

The cancellation marks the first time in the history of the organization that race weekend is canceled.

“Taking into account all of the planning and preparation that is coordinated within the organization and with partners in the community, unfortunately, the postponement was not a viable option,” said Shane Bauer, executive director of Grandma’s Marathon. “It is not possible to reallocate necessary community resources to a later date, particularly with the growing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With the majority of registered participants well into their training programs, the organization plans to recognize the time, effort and commitment that runners have already put forth by providing alternative offerings to registrants including a Virtual Race option, discounts on the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon Weekend Races and special offers from some of their valued sponsors.

Complete details will be emailed out to all registered participants.

The 45th anniversary race weekend will take place on June 18-19, 2021.

More details can be found on the Grandma’s Marathon website by clicking here.

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