The First, Big Summer Marathon Has Just Been Canceled – Grandma’s Marathon Canceled for 2020

Written by Charlie

One of the most popular summer marathons has become the latest to have to cancel. Grandma’s Marathon has been canceled for 2020 but they did a great job with providing information.

With just about all of the spring marathons already being canceled or postponed, many runners are wondering when is the next best marathon to register for. Will all of this be cleared up by the start of summer or will even more marathons cancel? Well, now we have the first big summer marathon to be canceled – the legendary Grandma’s Marathon.

Grandma’s Marathon Canceled for 2020

Link: Grandma’s Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota was going to run their 45th edition of their marathon this year. This is one of the most popular Saturday marathons in the country and one of the largest summer marathons.

They had tried to keep it going but, yesterday, they made the following announcement on their decision to cancel the marathon for 2020.

This is not the news that we wanted to be sharing with our running community, but after very careful deliberation, we have made the extremely difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Grandma’s Marathon Race Weekend of events. The staff and board of Grandma’s Marathon along with our medical and public agency leaders believe this is the responsible action to take in an effort to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and not take valuable resources away from our local health system. The health and safety of our participants, volunteers, sponsors, spectators, staff and community remains our top priority. We know this news is very disappointing, and all of us at Grandma’s Marathon feel the same, but we know that this is for the best.

They have also addressed what would be done for those already registered (they have a separate tab on why there will be no refunds):

  • 2020 Virtual Race:  You will be automatically entered into the virtual version of your race. All you need to do is run your race wherever you want, whenever you want while following the safety measures that have been laid out by your local government regarding COVID-19. The Virtual Submission Platform provided by Mtec Results will open on May 4. An email will be sent to you in early May with a link to your personal results page on the Virtual Submission Platform where you can download an official Race Bib, upload your time, and view/download an official Finisher Certificate. The deadline for submitting your Virtual Result is July 31. All finishers who upload their result to the Virtual Submission Platform will earn their finisher shirt and medal. These items will be available in August 2020 to pick-up (locations TBA) or we’ll ship them to you
  • 2021 Race Discount: We will provide a 20% discount toward the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon Weekend Race of your choice: Grandma’s Marathon, Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon or William A. Irvin 5K. Your promo code and instructions for redeeming the discount will be emailed to you in September 2020. Those who received complimentary 2020 entries do not qualify for the 2021 discount.
  • Donation: As we are a Minnesota Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status, your registration has been converted to a donation, which will enable you to claim the entry fee you paid as a tax write-off. Tax receipts will be issued between April 13 and May 13. In addition, if you choose to contribute your discount by not using the promo code that will be sent to you in September, please know that your donation will help ensure that our organization can continue to provide a world-class experience to the running community for years to come.
  • Sponsor Rewards: We are working with our committed team of sponsors to provide a worthwhile variety of discounts and rewards to 2020 registrants as an additional thank you for your support. Details about these items will be emailed periodically to participants.

I have to say that I think the organizers did a great job in laying it all out about their decision, why there will not be refunds, and even providing some answers to what will likely be frequently asked questions.

I have never yet run Grandma’s Marathon but it had long been on my list to do. If you want to run the virtual Grandma’s Marathon, you can still sign-up to do that! I know I will be signing up for it!

Were you signed up for Grandma’s Marathon? What will be the next marathon you try to register for?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment

  • They may come to regret this in mid-June. I really think this pandemic scare will put many marathons out of business. I would guess they don’t have to money to refund it in this case either and found a unique way to credit the fees to a non-profit entity.