Grandma’s Marathon weekend officially kicks off with the Essentia Health Fitness Expo, according to a news release from Mandi Peterson, marketing director for the marathon. The free, two-day event is Thursday, June 20, from 4-8 p.m. and Friday, June 21, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

The expo is in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center arena and is free and open to the public. Nearly 100 exhibitors will be showcasing the latest products and services available in the athletic industry.

Participants registered for the 43rd annual Grandma’s Marathon, the 29th annual Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, and the 26th annual William A. Irvin 5K may pick up their race packets at the event. Packet pick-up continues until 11 p.m. June 21 in Paulucci Hall.

Advantage Emblem, the official merchandiser of Grandma’s Marathon, will be at the Expo with official 2019 Grandma’s Marathon T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other merchandise.

Aside from the Essentia Health Fitness Expo, other Friday activities include the Michelina’s All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, a virtual race course tour presented by Doug Kurtis, a pre-race talk show featuring Dick Beardsley and Carrie Tollefson, the Whipper Snapper Races for Kids, and the 26th Annual William A. Irvin 5K.

Grandma’s Marathon is Saturday, June 22, at 7:45 a.m. Preceding the marathon is the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon at 6:15 a.m.

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