2020 Grandma's Marathon canceled over coronavirus concerns

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DULUTH, Minn. (KARE) - Minnesota's legendary North Shore marathon will go on hiatus for a year, after organizers decided it was prudent to cancel with ongoing concerns about the coronavirus.

Grandma's Marathon made the announcement on it's website Tuesday that the 44th annual marathon, which was scheduled for June 20, will not take place.

"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," read the post. "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."

Race officials say they know runners registered for the race are well into their training, and may be disappointed by the decision to cancel. They are providing the following resources:

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. More details are available on the Grandma's Marathon website.

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.

Grandma's Marathon officials are making it very clear that this is not the end of an event that has become part of Duluth culture, a race that brings both money and humanity to the city during a weekend that thousands look forward to.

"Looking ahead, we sincerely hope you are able to celebrate our 45th Anniversary Race Weekend with us next year on June 18-19, 2021! The anniversary weekend will provide a merited occasion to be grateful that we partake in a sport that endures all circumstances," reads the Grandma's website. "A sport that will come back from this crisis even stronger – because together we are stronger."