Monday, June 18, 2012

Most of these people don't look like Grandmas...

Joe and I got up very early on the morning of Saturday, June 16th.  We threw Thunderdog in the car, drove to a small town off of Highway 61, and stood by the side of the road for an hour and a half.  Why would we do such a strange thing?  Well, we were cheering on the runners and wheelers of the 36th annual Grandma's Marathon.

Grandma's Marathon goes from just south of Two Harbors all the way down to Duluth's Canal Park.  It follows the beautiful scenic highway most of the way - it's perfect, actually.  There are two roads from Duluth to Two Harbors: Scenic 61, and the Expressway (a four-lane highway further up from the lake).  I am sad to say that 99% of the time I take the Expressway, but there are times I choose to follow the winding road along the lake.  For the marathon, the racers get Scenic 61 and traffic is diverted to the Expressway.

my sign...I don't have a picture of me holding it

Joe and his sign, and unhappy Thunderdog

Thunderdog was NOT happy with the early morning field trip.  Her ears were permanently smooshed back against her head in their "angry dog" position, she whined constantly, and would not relax.  I think it was the sheer number of people along the side of the road, the clapping and shouting, bells and whistles.  Note to self: next time I attend a marathon, I will leave the dog at home.

The first of the racers that we saw were the wheelchair racers.  Man, were they ever speeding along!  

Check out the dude on the left's arms!

Then there was a lull.  I looked around at the crowd that was lining the road: people in lawn chairs; people that were holding up signs for particular racers; people holding signs that said things like "Go Random Person Go!" and "You're Awesome!".  There was a band playing Celtic music (the jigging and dancing variety) and a church had set up a tent and was selling baked goods.  There were a LOT of other dogs out with their humans.  Thunderdog was clearly the whiniest of them all.  *sigh*

The first runners came over the hill in a big clump.  Grandma's Marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, and it draws elite runners from around the world.  We also saw some kids running - you must be 12 to run - and people that looked like they could actually be Grandmas and Grandpas.  There is also a half marathon and other shorter races.  Overall, over 7,500 people participate in the race, and many hundreds more volunteer.  As the first runners zipped by, I wondered if I would be seeing any of them in the upcoming Olympics.  Thousands of runners ran by.  It was so inspiring.  It made me want to start running again.

Runners running by: look at how many are coming over the hill!

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