DULUTH – Race watchers, get out your cowbells: Grandma's Marathon will allow spectators at the June 19 event.

With the loosening of Minnesota pandemic protocols by Gov. Tim Walz last week, marathon organizers switched up plans that initially involved no race audience and no post-race music.

"Those things were crossed off pretty early in our planning process based on the previous guidelines, and the result was going to be a very different feeling come race weekend," said executive director Shane Bauer in a news release.

"Bringing those pieces back will not only amplify the experience of our participants, but it's great for our community members who wait all year to be part of Grandma's Marathon weekend."

The traditional live music under a big tent near the finish line moves to Bayfront Festival Park. There's no headliner this year, but local acts are being lined up for the free event, said marathon spokesman Zach Schneider. Musicians will play from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Race organizers encourage spectators to avoid forming large groups and respect others' comfort levels.

Masks are required in all race-controlled areas with more than 500 people in attendance, likely to include start and finish areas, Bayfront Festival Park and indoor race activities. Runners can unmask for the race.

This year's scaled-back marathon is one of the country's first major running events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jana Hollingsworth • 218-508-2450