Running in the rain: The 39th annual Grandma's Marathon


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The 39th annual Grandma's Marathon in Duluth starts at 7:45 a.m. Saturday – and it could be a wet one.

The Duluth news Tribune says the race has never been run in the rain. Showers look all but certain for the race Saturday morning, with temps in the 50s and rising to the 60s by noon.

The paper says the race has been delayed twice by weather: lightning in 2002, and traffic congestion plus a thunderstorm in 1980.

According to the Star Tribune, the race will go on through rain. If lightning starts flashing in the sky, then organizers would consider calling it off.

There's a live stream of the finish line if you'd like to watch. Click here.

The runners

Last year, Dick Beardelsy's 33-year-old course record time of 2:09.37 was beaten by Dominic Ondoro, who finished in 2:09.05.

Ondoro is racing again – and the Star Tribune says he's considered the favorite, an with his personal best of 2:08.00, there's a chance he could beat his own record just 12 months later.

Pasca Myers took the women's title last year, finishing in 2:33.43. She is not registered to run this year, opening the door for Sarah Kiptoo.

Kiptoo set the women's course record in 2013, winning the race in 2:26.32. She finished third in 2014 and is looking to take the top spot again. Though she knows others have the same goal.

"I see my friends here," she said of the other top runners there, "and they are ready to break my record. I think I'll try to be together with them," she told Northland's NewsCenter.

Other races

Of course, the 26.2-mile marathon isn't the only thing happening.

The wheelchair division started at 7:40 a.m. Included in the pack is Tatyana McFadden, described as the "world's most dominant" female wheelchair racer, Shade Global says. She's racing in the Grandma's for the first time Saturday.

Her track record is lengthy.

A three-time Paralympic gold medalist, and a 10-time medalist; an eight-time world champion; a four-time marathon winner.

And she's a graduate of the University of Illinois.

Susannah Scaroni won on the women's side last year, in 2:02.53; for the men it was Gyudae Kim, with a time of 1:36:11.

The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon started at 6:15 a.m.

Shadrack Biwott, a 30-year-old from Mammoth Lakes, California, took the men's contest in 1:03.09, beating 747 male competitors. Though it was close.

Macdonard Ondara was a hair behind at 1:03.10 – and he was even a thinner hair ahead of Ben Payne, who took third with the same time.

Neely Spence Gracey, from Boston, was declared the women's champion for her time of 1:11.25. The 25-year-old bested 311 female competitors, averaging a 5:28 mile. She was far out in front. The runner-up, Meegan Hogan of New York, was more than a minute behind at 1:12.33.

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