Grandma's Marathon was created in 1977 when a local running club called the North Shore Striders partnered with Grandma’s Restaurant to host a marathon along Highway 61—one of the most scenic courses in the world. What started as a race with 150 runners has grown into one of the country’s largest marathons, generating millions of dollars in economic impact for the area. Thousands of enthusiastic volunteers, spectators and entertainers line the streets to cheer runners on as they work their way to the finish line in Duluth’s historic Canal Park.
Grandma's Marathon became a nonprofit in 1987 and three years later created the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF) to assist with the promotion, development and growth of youth athletics in the Northland. The foundation now serves the counties of St. Louis, Lake, Cook, Carlton and Douglas (Wisconsin), and has contributed more than $600,000 to area youth athletic programs through grant, running shoe, scholarship and activity programs.