DULUTH, MN -- For the first time in its 44-year history, Grandma's Marathon has canceled its 2020 races due to COVID-19.
Every year thousands of runners gather for the annual Grandma's Marathon, but as the spread of COVID-19 must lessen, marathon officials decide to cancel the race.
"Not going to lie, I did cry a little bit about it," said Madeline Amala, a participant in this year's Grandma's Marathon. "I still went out and ran and did my training like it was still going on and I felt good after it."
"The planning committee's, and volunteers, just like those meetings have to be canceled and it's really hard to produce a high-quality event when stuff like that is canceled so I definitely understand why this has to happen," said Mike Ward, another Grandma's Marathon participant.
"This isn't the first time I've been signed up for a race that has been canceled and that's kind of the norm and I also understand there is a lot of costs that go into it," added Ward.
Race organizers say they needed to make this difficult decision to not add any additional stress on an already burdened medical staff.
Instead of offering a refund, Grandma's is giving a 20% discount to any registered runners who want to race in 2021. Race organizers said because they're a non-profit, your registration fee has been converted to a donation, which allows you to claim the fee as a tax write-off.
They're also offering a virtual version of the race that any registered runners will automatically be entered in.
"We are all still runners and we do it for a reason I'm sure more than just running a marathon, so I just hope everyone keeps running," said Amala.