Grandma's Marathon 2011

For the fifth year in a row, I covered Grandma’s Marathon from behind a camera for the Duluth News Tribune.  It was an awesome time and this year, the weather was unlike any since I’ve been up here.  Instead of humidity and sunshine, runners were greeted with rain and near perfect running conditions once the races started.  Temperatures in the upper 40s and 50s along with a persistent tailwind helped half marathoner and Ethiopian Derese Deniboba Rashaw shatter the course record by two minutes finishing in 1:02:19.

Also different from year’s past was a photo finish in the full marathon.  Kenyan Christopher Kipyego edged past Ethiopia’s Tekly Deneke by 0.2 seconds to improve upon his 2010 runner-up finish in the same race.  Both Kipyego and Deneke’s finishing times are listed as 2:12:17.  Typically the winner comes in 30-45 seconds or longer ahead of the runner-up.

Sorry folks  you won’t see any photo finish photos here or pictures of a course record being shattered.  For the second year in a row, I was asked to cover the start and portions of the course up to 40th Avenue East and London Road.  That meant lots of fan photos, people cheering, trying to stay dry, drinking beer, doing keg stands, that type of thing.  Basically find action, capture action.

I absolutely love this race from a photographic standpoint and from running it.  Back in 2003, I ran the race and left Duluth thinking how in the hell do these people get up those streets downtown in the winter.  Little did I know, the race would become an annual part of my life and hopefully I’ll run it again one day, but in the meantime, I’m having too much fun capturing it with a camera.

Here are a few of my images from Saturday’s race…

Runners take off from the start of Grandma's Marathon Saturday morning in Two Harbors.

Denny Jordan of Roseville, Minn. bundled up to stay dry before running Grandma's Marathon Saturday morning in Two Harbors, Minn.

LEFT: Dan Falbo of Eagan, Minn. stays warm and dry before by using a variety of bags before the start of Grandma's Marathon. RIGHT: Jered Nyquist of St. Cloud, Minn. attempts to stay dry Saturday morning before the start of Grandma's Marathon.

Runners pass the intersection of Homestead Road and Scenic Highway 61 Saturday morning during Grandma's Marathon.

LEFT: Jen Houck, a former St. Scholastica runner, finished 5th overall in the women's race. CENTER: Yihunlish Bekele Delelecha won the women's race. LEFT: 2009 winner Christopher Raabe dropped out of this year's race sometime after 13.1 miles.

A race fan holds a sign near Homestead Road and Scenic Highway 61 Saturday morning during Grandma's Marathon.

LEFT: Jill Hylla of Buffalo, Minn. cheers the runners near the intersection of Homestead Road and Scenic Highway 61 Saturday afternoon during Grandma's Marathon. RIGHT: Sara Muniz of Elk River watches Grandma's Marathon in the rain Saturday morning.

Matt Gibbons (blue shirt, center) offers a beer bong to runners along Londron Road during Grandma's Marathon Saturday morning.

Numerous runners stopped for beer, keg stands and beer bongs near the intersection of 40th Avenue East and London Road Saturday morning during Grandma's Marathon.

Tanner Skillings (right) of Minneota, Minn. gets a beer bong from Matt Gibbons (left) while running along London Road during Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.

More beerbongs!!!

Derek Ingvalson of St. Louis Park, Minn. does a keg stand with the help of some college students along London Road during Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.

From left: Ray Skoglund, Jim Collette and Barb Collette stand along London Road with over 200 trolls they put out on the curb to wish the runners good luck Saturday morning during Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.