Grandma's Marathon Highlights

By KBJR News 1

June 18, 2011 Updated Jun 20, 2011 at 7:24 PM CDT

Duluth, MN - (The Northland's News Center) - Runners shut down Duluth streets as spectators and fans cheered them on for the 35th Annual Grandma's Marathon.

More than 15-thousand athletes laced up their running shoes and took to the streets of Duluth on Saturday.

For some, training and preparation begins months prior to the actual race...and for others, it begins the day of.

"Nothing, we didn't train. No, we didn't. Doing this without training was really hard, but we just wanted to finish together, and we did," Half Marathon runners, Katie Lindquist and Jodi Trebesch said.

To insure runner safety, a new color-coded flag system was introduced to the marathon this year.

The system alerts runners of the varying risk levels that could be associated with cold or heat stress while running.

The levels are measured by two thermometer gages placed near the start of the half marathon and near the end.

"Thermometer here has three temperatures, one in the black bulb, wet bulb and your ambient temperature. We transfer this information down to the start line," volunteer Tom Kurtovich says.

The temperature information is then recorded.

"We have the flags over at the start line here. And it happens to be a white flag today, which is high risk of hypothermia," Kurtovich said.

Thousands of volunteers are recruited to help during the week with clean-up.

Some say the process is a feat on its own.

"It usually takes us between an hour and an hour and a half to clean up all of the recyclables, which we put in a bag, the clothing which we put in a bag and donate, and all of the garbage that the runners leave behind," clean up volunteer, Jesse Hurtig says.

All of the clothing left at the starting line is donated and made into cloth diapers for people in need