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Monticello takes on Duluth’s Grandma’s Marathon

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Grandma’s Marathon has been bringing people from all across the globe to take on the daunting task of 26.2 miles for several years.

The popular race in Duluth first came on the scene in 1977. A group of local runners decided to organize a race that started at Two Harbors and made it’s way to Duluth.

The race got it’s name from a new at the time, Grandma’s Restaurant in 1997. The business was the only one that would sponsor the race for a fee of $600.

The first year there was only a total of 150 participants verses the 2019 total of 6,364. The runners added up to 3,405 men and 2,959 women.

The top runner crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds. Boniface Kongin. He’s 29 years old and a local from Duluth.

Though the winner grew up in Duluth, other runners came from all over the world.

The 42nd annual race, which was last year, had at least one runner from all 50 states and runners from 49 different countries.

Dominic Ondoro, current record holder and native of Kenya, holds a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 6 seconds.

According to the Grandma’s Marathon website, the race is now a “self governed nonprofit organization with a 17-member board of directors. Grandma’s Marathon weekend draws more than 18,000 participants for its three-race event each June.”

The 2011 race was the first year that included a photo finish. Now each runner gets a photo finish and a video that is available on the website.

This year the Duluth race brought in eight runners from right here in Monticello.

Brooke Lorentz 21, McRae Voll 22, Grace Sawatzke 23, Mackenzie Johnson 23, Kim Herdan 29, Lisa Wieber 38, Sheri Biard 43 and Denise Lorentz 48.

Of the eight runners, Brooke Lorentz had the best time of 3 hours, 20 minutes and 18 seconds. Biard had the next best time of 3 hours, 44 minutes, and 43 seconds. And Denise Lorentz came in a close third for the Monticello group at 3 hours, 49 minutes and 22 seconds.

The average time for Grandma’s Marathon over all was 4 hours, 18 minutes and 36 seconds this year.

It’s easy to see that the participants from Monticello are well above average.

Reach Jessie Meyen at

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