Annual Gear Up For Grandma’s Preparing Marathon Runners, Helping Overseas

HERMANTOWN, Minn. — With just two months till the biggest race in Duluth, Grandma’s Marathon held ‘Gear Up For Grandmas’ here in Hermantown Saturday morning, to not only prepare, but educate racers on how to get ready, but they also found another way to give back.

Anticipation was even higher Saturday as this year may be the most normal Grandma’s held since the start of the pandemic.

“Very excited, this event makes it feel a little more real, like it’s actually two months away and it’s going to be a really exciting day,” Christina Nistler, Certified Athletic Trainer for Grandma’s Marathon said.

Dakotah Lindwurm, 2021’s first place female, and first Minnesota woman to win, spoke about getting in the marathon mindset.

“Today I talked about just mental strength and how to stay positive during a marathon which I think can be really hard but really beneficial if you’re able to master it,” Lindwurm said.

Whether running the William A. Irvin 5k, the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon, or the full 26.2 miles, there are tricks to pushing through.

“I think the most important thing is finding your joy and finding your ‘why you’re running,’ if you can, what I say, grin and bear it through the pain, you’re going to find that you can enjoy it a little bit more. And as long as you’ve got your reason as to why you’re running a marathon, you’ve always got that in your back pocket to remind you,” Lindwurm added.

Blisters and muscle cramps are also common concerns, and PR and Marketing Specialist Zach Schneider says there are steps to take to make them more bearable, and help along the way.

“You don’t roll out of bed and run a marathon, it’s a choice, it’s a lifestyle choice in a lot of cases, and were lucky to have a partner like Essentia Health who’s involved without part not just from start to finish of the race on the weekend of the event, but from start to finish of the entire process,” Schneider said.

When the finish line is crossed, runners aren’t completely in the clear. A big issue after a race is called Exercise Associated Collapse. When runners exert themselves through long durations of physical activity, and then stop. This can cause a sick feeling, lightheadedness, and even passing out.

“We set up the finish line to help support that, so we have the medal that gets put around your neck, and then a little bit further away is the water, and then a little bit further away is the bananas, so you have to keep walking to move through,” Nistler added.

Saturday’s gear-up is also hoping to have a larger impact. Any remaining clothing from this event, and past races, is being packaged and delivered to saint Matthews Church in Esko to be shipped to the borders of Ukraine, West Africa and Haiti.

“We’re thrilled to be able to do it, we view it as kind of a responsibility that we have again because we rely so much on, not just our local community but our worldwide community, we host runners from all over the world every year and this is our chance to give back in whatever small way that we can,” Schneider said.

The next event in the Grandma’s race series is the Fitgers 5k which takes place Saturday April 23rd.

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