Denfeld Students Keep Up Course Cleanup Tradition Despite Grandma’s Cancellation

Denfeld Girls Soccer Team has picked up trash along the shore the day after race day for about 10 years.

DULUTH, Minn.- The cancellation of Grandma’s Marathon didn’t stop Denfeld High School students from their nearly 10-year tradition of picking up trash along the course the day after race day.

“We’re a part of the community and it’s nice to get our name out, y’know get some supporters for our team,”said Denfeld Junior Kamryn Hill.

After Grandma’s every year, it’s a common sight to see the neon-vested Denfeld Girls Soccer Team scouring Scenic Highway 61 for garbage.

Even without 2020’s marathon, runners completing their virtual races and others running the Gary Bkjorklund Half Marathon for fun Saturday meant there was still work for the students to do — and they were happy to be asked.

“People have been running the race virtually so we’re thinking: maybe there’s a lot of people that came out yesterday to run, and let’s see what kind of trash they left behind,” Steve Samuelson, President of the Denfeld Girls Soccer Booster Club said.

While not as widespread as a typical race year, trash was definitely left behind. “There actually was a ton of garbage, yeah there was a ton of garbage,” said Denfeld mom Jodi Grochowski.

But for many of the students, like Hill, this wasn’t the first time taking up the gloves and trash bags. So it’s nothing they weren’t used to.

“Not gonna lie you find a lot of cigarettes, you find a lot of clothes that people throw off just like, during mid-race but that’s about it I haven’t found anything weird honestly,” she said.

But without the marathon full of thousands of runners and spectators, the trash ended up being a bit less running-related.

“Not the usual garbage that we clean up — the cups and all the little wrappers and things — but there was a lot of unmentionables that we found alongside the road,” said Grochowski.

While both her daughter that graduated and her other daughter that plays soccer at Denfeld couldn’t join them, Grochowski still wanted to come and support the team, and show her younger kids the impact the marathon can have on the city.

“Just to be able to come out and be a part of something bigger it really means a lot,” she said. “And to teach our kids about doing that and looking outside of ourselves is really important too.”

And the soccer players were happy that they didn’t put a dent in their about 10-year streak cleaning up — and helping out.

“I think that the community supports them, I think they really feel it’s important to give back to the community,” said Samuelson.

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