Column: Thoughts turn to spring and another half-marathon championship in Duluth
When it comes to springtime in Duluth, two words immediately race to the forefront -- Grandma's Marathon. The winter visitor season has been -- and continues to be -- a phenomenal period for our tourism industry, complete with plenty of snow and ...
When it comes to springtime in Duluth, two words immediately race to the forefront -- Grandma's Marathon.
The winter visitor season has been -- and continues to be -- a phenomenal period for our tourism industry, complete with plenty of snow and events to please the cold-weather enthusiast. Soon though, spring will arrive and runners will flock to the Lakewalk, streets and trails as they embark on training preparations for their races.
For the second consecutive year, Duluth will host the USA Half Marathon Championships as part of the race lineup during the June 20-22 Grandma's Marathon weekend. Duplicating the tremendous excitement from 2012 certainly will not be an easy task. After all, who can forget watching Duluth's own Kara Goucher race down London Road, Superior Street and Canal Park in front of thousands of hometown fans screaming her name in support?
Opportunities like this to showcase our city to the entire running world do not come around every day. So, I encourage you to take it all in, and embrace this unique chance to witness firsthand some of our country's fastest runners.
Some -- like Goucher and 2012 men's champion Abdi Abdirahman -- are U.S. Olympians. You never know, perhaps a future Olympian will be here to race in June.
While hosting another national championship event is certainly reason to place another feather in Duluth's running cap, there is the usual array of other races to enjoy as well -- Grandma's Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the William A. Irvin 5K. Those three combine to bring tens of thousands of runners, supporters and fans to our region each year.
The races are the obvious main attraction of the weekend's events. But, there are so many other activities to enjoy. Whether it's the expo, the spaghetti dinner, the Whipper Snapper Races for Kids, or the live music and celebration for which Grandma's is well known, there's truly something for everyone.
Each year I am amazed by the outpouring of community support -- in the form of 6,000 volunteers -- and the collaborative efforts from so many businesses and groups that collectively make this event one of the most well-organized and respected events in the running industry.
Run, cheer, volunteer -- whatever your plans entail for race weekend, enjoy every minute of it.
Most of all, thank you for your role in showcasing Duluth through this world-class event with small-town charm.
Terry Mattson is the president and CEO of Visit Duluth, the city's convention and visitors bureau, and is responsible for leading the official destination marketing efforts. Contact Mattson by telephone at 722-4011 or by e-mail at email@example.com .