Minnesota Outdoors Logo


Minnesota Outdoors

Star Tribune

Grandma's Marathon cancellation hits hard at Minnesota running legend

“Oooh. Wow. Oh, golly,” groaned Dick Beardsley, when hit with the news Tuesday morning that Grandma's Marathon had been canceled.

The move is especially acute for Beardsley, a Minnesota running legend revered in Duluth and whose marathon course record set in 1981 (2:09:37) stood up for 33 years. The love flows both ways -- he calls Duluth his second hometown, and has returned every year since his landmark day. He last ran the marathon in 2006, and continues to officially call the race. (Beardsley is shown below with Dominic Ondoro after Ondoro broke his record in 2014.)

Beardsley said he recently had been checking on the race’s status, hoping for the best in the face of the pandemic’s unknowns. “I know (the organizers) put a lot of thought into this,” he said, “and I’m sure they are just as disappointed as all the runners are going to be.”

Beardsley continues to make race appearances across the country, does some online coaching, and feeds his other love – fishing – with a guide business. In fact, he was on the road to his home in Bemidji from a fishing trip to South Dakota when the Grandma’s news broke.

“I’m been fortunate to go to a lot of events, but there just is something special about Grandma’s. Just the way the community just envelops it and takes so much pride in it.”

Beardsley had hopeful words for Duluth, Grandma’s, and maybe the running community at large.

“Sometimes what we perceive as our greatest disappointment can sometimes turn out to be a huge blessing,” he said. “I hope that’s the case with Grandma’s Marathon, and next year we’ll be back bigger and better than ever.”



State park and rec area campgrounds and lodging closed, too

While Minnesota state parks and recreation areas remain open, the Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that campgrounds, lodging and rental facilities are closed through May 1. The stay-at-home order from Gov. Tim Walz to help slow the spread of the coronavirus went into effect Friday night.

The closures also apply to state forests campgrounds and group rentals of day-use facilities, such as trail centers and picnic shelters.

The DNR said in a news release it will waive cancellation fees – and fees to change reservations -- for camping and rentals.

Park visitors can buy permits online, or pay at self-pay stations at park entrances. The DNR said in a news release that visits have increased. “We have already observed crowding at some state parts and trails. Visitors must maintain social distancing and stay close to home when recreating outdoors,” the agency added.

Naturalist programs will remain canceled, and park visitor centers closed.

See more on the DNR’s COVID-19 response and what is opened and closed at dnr.state.ms.us/covid-19.