Our 2015 Grandma’s Marathon Highlights
The 39th annual Grandma’s Marathon was held June 20, 2015. The finisher, all 6,075 of them (3436 men, 2639 women) fought through some early rain to run in otherwise mostly beautiful race conditions from Two Harbors to Duluth Minnesota. It was amazing watching them raise their arms in expressions of victory, sorrow, or just disbelief as they crossed the finish line.
When I crossed the line, I yelled, “who wants to catch me?!” as I crashed into the arms of the first volunteer I saw. I was kinda joking, but as he caught me, I felt my legs release any obligation they once had to keep me upright, and sucumb to the fatigue of my effort.
Jane Kibii was the first woman across the finish line, running a 2:32:06. Elisha Barno, the first male, ran a 2:10:36. The median time for all runners was 4:07:31 (3:55:35 men, 4:21:28 women).
As many of you know, we had about 150 runners who ran as part of the Minneapolis Running, Grandma’s Marathon race team. I had the privileged of meeting several folks before the race at packet picket pickup and the spaghetti dinner, as well as along the race course and while I was hobbling around at the finish line. Fun to finally put some faces with the names!
Many were doing their first marathon, or some shooting for goals they had been trying to reach for a few years.
Knowing I wouldn’t get to hear many of these stories, I sent out an email, asking for story submission to share on the blog. Below are a few of our 2015 Grandma’s Marathon Highlights.
Jeff Rapacz (3:05)
I literally almost ran into Jeff somewhere around mile 8 during the race. I noticed he was wearing one of our singlets and said, “hey!” That’s all I could get out. We chatted for a bit, and then he started pulling away. After, he sent me this,
I had a great time running Grandmas Marathon! The weather reports the days before the marathon had me more than a little concerned, as I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have been fortunate to run all of my previous marathons with mostly perfect weather conditions for me. Before the race started I was fairly miserable standing in the rain. Once the race finally started the rain seemed to let up somewhat and I warmed up pretty quickly.
I’m happy to say I set a new PR beating a time I have been trying to up the last three years! I have a few blisters from having wet feet the whole race, but have nothing but smiles on my face! A big thanks to all the volunteers that made the race possible today! Looking forward to a few weeks off before training for TCM in the fall.
Valerie O’Keefe (4:40)
I bumped into Valerie on the train ride up to the starting line. The course was one of her favorite parts.
Although she didn’t quite hit her goal, she said she “did ok.” She learned that, “I don’t have the competitive drive to sustain my goal in the last 6 miles.” She is definitely doing another. “Of course! Who can give up this fun and accomplishment. Marathoners are my people.” I agree with her – marathoners are my people too.
Although overall she said it was great, she also said she made a mistake that many marathoners make. “… I think I ran too fast the first half and paid for it In the last 6 miles. ”
Mike Guswiler (3:42)
Mike said he was excited he ran the whole thing! He dropped 34 minutes off his last marathon time, learning that,
I’m a real runner, not just a jogger.
He said his pacing also went well. He said he, “Felt like I powered up lemondrop, and had enough gas in the tank to sprint the last 2 tenths.” And while he is absolutely going to signup for another marathon, he will be focusing on “LOTS” of half marathons for right now due to some competing priorities.
He, “Just felt strong and confident the entire way!”
Angela Lowe (3:58)
Angela also had an incredible race. She didn’t just hit her goal, she demolished it by setting a 42 minute PR! She learned a big lesson about her mental strength, saying it, “can pull my body through anything.”
Like most runners, waiting in a complete downpour at the start of the race wasn’t ideal, but her sub-4 hour finish made it totally worth it.
Barrett Stoks (3:38)
Barrett didn’t let the rain slow him down. He said he hit his “comeback goal“, but couldn’t quite mark that as “awesome” since it is still 13 minutes over his PR.
I certainly resonate with that. I wonder how others deal with having a “good” but not great race?
I thought he had a great response to what he learned about himself. He said he learned to,
…trust my gut on race pace. I had a last minute change of heart, and it was a good thing, I would have been in trouble going out any harder.
Acknowledging that he is a “glutton for punishment” Barrett is definitely signing up for another marathon as he has “much room to improve“.
Overall, he thought the race experience was positive. “Great volunteers, good crowd support even with the rain (not their fault), and an overall great weekend.”
Jessie Benson (3:41)
Jessie (not technically part of the team, but helped out with a webinar – she runs with CBRC), fellow blogger at The Right Fits, had an awesome day! Despite having a broken toe, she ran a 13 minute PR, which she said, “far exceeded my expectations!” and a few minutes faster than her goal. She learned that,
focusing on my mental game really works. I kept repeating to myself “I believe in you. I believe in this pace.” and really worked to push any negative thoughts out. It worked.
This was Jessie’s 19th marathon, and wants, “something grand for #20!” She also noted that, “…the volunteers at this race were really amazing. I heard that there were almost more volunteers for the whole weekend than there were marathoners. Impressive.”
Jason Halvorson (4:17)
Jason said his race day experience was a “roller coaster of emotions.” From his own race, to cheering on the final runners during his walk back. He didn’t quite hit his goal, but came close. I appreciate his answer about what he learned about himself. He said,
…the hard work is paying off but there is still work to be done!
Much like my race, Jason was on pace until mile 22 when things started going awry. “I was shooting for under 4 hrs and missed it by 17 minutes… while it was a 9 minute PR, I am still disappointed.”
Presumably he is going to take some time to recover from his marathon, then get right back to training since he already signed up for the Ultra Looney Challenge in October.
Nathan Freeburg (3:11)
My race didn’t go as planned. After a really challenging yet “successful” training cycle, I thought everything was in place to run a sub three hour marathon. I am a bit disappointed in my final time, but realize it’s still my second faster ever (and an hour and 16 minutes faster than the last time I ran Grandma’s in 2007).
Minimally I was hoping for a 3:08:30 to help my chances of getting into Boston.
Oh well. My 3:09 from TCM will have to do the trick for now. Fingers crossed.
I learned that even when you work really hard, sometimes you don’t accomplish your goals. That, however, doesn’t mean you don’t continue working hard and try again. I have more marathons in my future for sure. For the immediate future I am just focused on recovering, both mentally and physically.
What were your 2015 Grandma’s Marathon Highlights?
I would love to hear how your race went. After you spend some time evaluating your race performance, share what you learned about yourself below!