Festivities on the Lake Front Help Kick Off Grandma’s Marathon Weekend

DULUTH, Minn.– Earlier today the annual Whipper Snapper children’s race made its return to Grandma’s Weekend, and although it was a little different this year coming out of COVID,
it was equally as fun.

“It’s always fun to watch the kids just come through, and just be excited and even when they get a little tired, you push them and give them some energy and they make it all the way through,” Pez Davila, a volunteer at the event, said.

As an event that didn’t happen last year due to COVID, kids and families were happy to welcome it back and were highlighting the impacts it might have on the young racers.

“I was just telling my mom that I think it gets kids really inspired to run each year and see all the other runners too on marathon weekend,” Kirsten Gonzalez, a Duluth native, and mother to two Whipper Snapper racers, said.

That was true for one of Gonzalez’ daughters, Diana, who said she’s looking forward to being in the crowd tomorrow, “I want to watch the other people run,” Diana Gonzalez said.

While her other daughter Gisele, says it will be a great weekend for “playing outside”.

But overall it is an event that starts to get runners in the mindset for the big race.

“Yeah we’re just here to support every body, even the runners for tomorrow, and the 5k later, so yeah, just hoping everybody has a good time and enjoying themselves,” Davila said.

“It’s exciting, I think it’s the first time a lot of people are out again and I think it will be really fun,” Kirsten Gonzalez said.

One runner from St. Charles, Minnesota, about 4 hours away, is ready to run his third Grandma’s Marathon, and the spaghetti dinner wasn’t the only part of his preparation today.

“To mentally prepare, we do the Whipper Snapper race, to kind of get that vibe going, my wife, she is doing the 5k and then after that its just more or less going to bed, thinking about what’s to come,” Nate Schultz, said.

There will be a lot of surprises throughout the day, but one thing that is expected, are the loyal spectators, “Duluth is different than any other marathon because of the cheering and the crowd, you never know what’s coming up,” Schultz said.

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