Grandma's Marathon 2011: Schedule, Route, History And More

This Saturday marks the 35th annual Grandma's Marathon, and we'll be covering it for you here at SB Nation Minnesota.

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Grandma's Marathon Results: Kipyego, Delelecha, Take Top Spots

In last year's Grandma's Marathon, Kenyan native Christopher Kipyego was the runner-up, finishing second to fellow countryman Philemon Kemboi by sixteen seconds. This year, with Kemboi having to withdraw because of visa issues, Kipyego delivered his first victory in the 26.2-mile race, and he did so in the closest finish in race history.

Kipyego was in a dead heat with Ethopian Teklu Deneke as both men approached the finish line, and the marathon turned into a sprint to the finish for the championship. Both men crossed the finish line in a virtual dead heat, and after much discussion, Kipyego was declared the winner of the race. He finished with a time of two hours, 12 minutes, and 17 seconds.

The women's race was not nearly as close, as 29-year old Yihunlish Delelecha of Ethiopia took the 2011 Grandma's Marathon crown with a time of two hours, 30 minutes, and 39 seconds. That was almost a minute faster than the second-place competitor, Kenya's Everlyne Lagat, who finished with a time of two hours, 31 minutes, and 32 seconds.

In the wheelchair races, defending champion Saul Mendoza of Wimberly, Texas won his seventh Grandma's Marathon crown, edging out Spain's Jorge Jiminez by five-tenths of a second. Mendoza finished with a time of one hour, 28 minutes, and 53.4 seconds.

On the women's side, Amanda McGrory of Savoy, Illinois set a new women's wheelchair record en route to the victory, winning the race with a time of one hour, 39 minutes, and 30.9 seconds. That's nearly five minutes faster than the previous course record, also held by McGrory, set two years ago in her last appearance at the Grandma's Marathon.

Congratulations to all of the winners on their accomplishments today.


Grandma's Marathon 2011: Road Closures For Friday And Saturday

The Grandma's Marathon, Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon, and William A. Irvin 5K run mean one thing for folks in Duluth that aren't interested in attending the race, and that is road closures around the city.

If you want to know how the closures are going to affect your drive home from work on Friday afternoon or your potential travel plans for Saturday, fear not, because we have all of that information for you right here.

Road Closures for Friday, June 17 (William A. Irvin 5K)

-Harbor Drive, behind the DECC will be closed to traffic starting at 3:00 p.m.
-Roadways will close to traffic for the William Irvin 5K on Friday night starting at 5:40 p.m., including 5th Ave W and Railroad Street from Harbor Drive to Garfield Avenue.
-Roadways should re-open by approximately 7:30 p.m.
-PARKING WILL NOT BE ALLOWED on Railroad Street or Harbor Drive. Please observe the posted signs. Parking is encouraged in the Bayfront lots and downtown.

Road Closures For Saturday, June 18 (Grandma's Marathon and Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon)

-At 12 noon on Friday, June 18, Canal Park Drive from Railroad Street to Buchanan Street will be closed for Grandma's finish line set up. This roadway will remain closed to automobile traffic until after the Grandma's Marathon Finish on Saturday.
-Scenic Highway 61, along the lake, will be closed to traffic at 4:30 A.M., between Duluth and Two Harbors
-Lakewood, Homestead, Ryan, and McQuade Roads will be closed from the Highway 61 Expressway to Scenic Highway 61 at 4:30 A.M.
-London Road will be closed at 6:00 A.M.
-Superior Street from 12th Avenue East to 5th Avenue West, will be closed at 6:15 a.m.
-Harbor Drive, Commerce Street, Lake Place Drive and Canal Park closed at 6:30 a.m.

PARKING IS NOT ALLOWED ON THE RACE COURSE. Please observe the posted "No Parking Signs." Violators will be towed.

In the Canal Park area parking is encouraged at the Bayfront lots. Access to those parking lots will be from Railroad Street. Railroad Street may be accessed by either by 5th Avenue West or Garfield Avenue.

Traffic to and from Park Point will encounter long delays Friday evening and Saturday. On Saturday, during the Marathon, the only way motorists will be able to reach Park Point and the Canal Park area will be from 5th Avenue West to Railroad Street or Garfield Avenue to Railroad Street. An officer there will then direct them along the detour route to reach the Park Point and the Canal Park area without crossing the Race Course.

-Northbound traffic on I-35 will be diverted onto Mesaba Avenue to 2nd Street, continuing East to 21st Avenue East, then south to Superior Street, and continuing East. Westbound traffic from Superior Street will turn North onto 21st Avenue East, then continue West on 3rd Street. This detour will take effect at 6:00 a.m.
-The northbound lane of I-35 will be closed at 6:00 a.m. from Mesaba Avenue to 26th Avenue East. The southbound lane of I-35 from 21st and 26th Avenues East will be closed at 4:30 a.m.
-The freeway, and other roadways closed for the Marathon will reopen at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Motorists should slow down and be alert to special signing and lane closures on Highway 61 Expressway just south of Two Harbors.

Big thanks to Northlands Newscenter for supplying this information courtesy of the Duluth Police Department.


Grandma's Marathon 2011: Aid Stations, Weather, And More

As a weather person by trade, yours truly is quite happy to take the opportunity to inform you of what the forecast for tomorrow morning's marathon is going to look like. And remember, if the forecast isn't 100% accurate, as a weather guy you don't generally expect me to be right anyway.

Unfortunately, it does not look like great weather at the moment for tomorrow's race. The forecast for tomorrow's starting time is for cloudy skies and rain with temperatures of right around 50 degrees and winds coming out of the northeast at around 12 to 14 miles an hour. The rain is likely going to persist all day long, the temperatures will fluctuate a bit between the upper 40s and the lower 50s, and the winds will persist out of the northeast at the same speed all through the entirety of the race. So, if you're going out to cheer on the runners, be sure to bring your umbrella and a jacket of some sort.

For the folks that are running the full Grandma's Marathon, you will find water and Powerade at mile markers 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24,and 25. There will also be packets of Clif Shot Energy Gel (one of the race's official sponsors) available at mile 17. You will be given your time splits at the 1-mile, 5-mile, 6.2-mile (quarter point), 10-mile, 13.1-mile (halfway point), 15-mile, 20-mile, and 25-mile points, as well as at the finish. There will be first-aid tents every other mile between mile 3 and mile 17, and every mile between mile 20 and the end of the race. The medical tents, which are more extensive than the first-aid tents, will be located at mile 13, mile 16, mile 19, and mile 22.

If you're running the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon, your water/Powerade stations will be located at mile markers 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. You will be given your time splits at the 2-mile, 5-mile, 10-kilometer, and 10-mile points. Your first aid tents will be found at mile markers 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12, while the medical tents will be at mile markers 3, 6, and 9.

For both races, there is also a medical tent at the finish line.

Also, if you are running, you are allowed to wear headphones on the course. USA Track and Field lifted the ban on headphones on USATF-certified courses, which the Grandma's Marathon is, in December of 2008. So, if you want to have your tunes with you while you run. . .and the battery on your music player of choice will last that long. . .you can feel free to have it on while you're running the 2011 Grandma's Marathon. However, the race organizers warn you that you do so at your own risk.


Grandma's Marathon 2011: Check Out The Route For The Race

The 2011 Grandma's Marathon is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 Saturday morning (wheelchair participants will be allowed to start at 7:25), and for those of you that are planning on heading out to cheer on your favorite runner, the folks from the Grandma's Marathon have provided an interactive map of the route for you at their web site.

The race starts just outside of Two Harbors, Minnesota, and is run along the shores of Lake Superior. There is a little bit of elevation change, as the starting line is located at 740 feet above sea level, while the finish line is located at 610 feet above sea level, with some rolling hills along the way. The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon will start at the half-way point of the main marathon, right around mile marker 13. The last stretch for both races will have the runners going down Canal Park Drive in Duluth, and the finish line is located between The Inn on Lake Superior and Little Angie's Cantina and Grill.

From the finish line, runners can continue down Canal Park Drive to the medical tent, the merchandise tent, or all the way down to Grandma's Saloon and Grill. If you take a left at Grandma's, you will find the runner's recovery area with food, beverages, and a massage tent.


Grandma's Marathon 2011: Defending Men's Champion Withdraws From Race

Long-distance running generally is not a sport that lends itself to guarantees, but this one is pretty much set in stone.

The men's side of the Grandma's Marathon is guaranteed to have a new winner in 2011.

Defending men's champion Philemon Kemboi, a native of Kenya, has been forced to withdraw from the 35th annual running of Grandma's Marathon due to visa problems, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The withdrawl was confirmed by race officials on Tuesday.

The thirty-seven year old Kemboi won the 2010 Grandma's Marathon with a time of two hours, fifteen minutes, and forty-four seconds. He defeated his fellow countryman, Chris Kipyego, by sixteen seconds to take home the crown.

The two men that were champions before Kemboi will be entered in the race, as 2008 champion Lamech Mokono, another Kenyan, and 2009 champion Christopher Raabe, a Minnesota resident living in Washington, D.C., are both entered in this year's running.

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