Grandma's Marathon Friday event wrap-up

By KBJR News 1

June 20, 2014 Updated Jun 20, 2014 at 9:47 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The big weekend is finally here.

Grandma's Marathon weekend events kicked off Friday with the annual Spaghetti feed, and the first of this weekend's three big races.

The weather isn't exactly what many runners had hoped for, but runners and those attending the event filled weekend aren't letting the weather break their spirits.

Friday in the Northland was filled with carbs, cuteness, and competitiveness, which of course is to be expected.

"I kept running until I got to the finish line. I didn't let any kid behind me pass me," said 6-year-old runner Saffryn Behr.

Pint size racers got their chance to compete Friday afternoon in the annual Whipper Snapper Races at Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park.

"When they ring the bell, it's a lot of fun because you get that confidence in you," said 8-year-old Meg Stephan.

All the while thousands of runners carbed up ahead of the big race...

"I start to carb up two days before. But then the day before I do a lot. A lot of eating," said Jennifer Guernica, a Grandma's Marathon runner who made the trip all the way from Texas.

People consumed 2,500 pounds of pasta, and 5,000 pounds of pasta sauce at this year's annual Spaghetti feed.

"It's important to get the carbs in you the night or two before a marathon to store up that extra energy so that you have that available on the race course," said Bob Gustafson, PR director of Grandma's Marathon.

The race course will be packed full of thousands of runners on Saturday, including some teams that are running for a cause.

214 people make up Team Hope aiming to raise awareness in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

"This cause... that's what's going to keep me going is thinking about my mom and my grandpa and this whole team behind us is just really supportive," said team hope runner Leah Hagen.

The William A Irvin 5K also took place Friday evening kicking off the first of this weekend's three races.

Over 18,000 people in total will be running throughout the three races this weekend.

Elsa Robins