Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grandma's Marathon Award Recipients Announced

Grandma's Marathon has announced the recipients of its 2010 Ron Daws Ambassador Award and Award of Excellence.

Martha Firling is this year's Ron Daws Ambassador Award winner. Firling is a longtime Grandma's Marathon volunteer and for the past 11 years has been the event's host family coordinator. She arranges all of the details for area families who host some of the event's elite athletes, many of them from foreign countries. Previously she spent more than 15 years as a water station volunteer.

In 1993, Grandma's Marathon began the Ron Daws Ambassador Award in honor of the Minnesota native and 1968 Olympian who was a great ambassador to Grandma's Marathon and the city of Duluth. Daws was extremely instrumental in the development of road racing in Minnesota until he passed away in 1992. The award is presented each year to an individual who has been a leader in the growth of long distance running and who has a shared commitment to Grandma's Marathon and Duluth.

The Spirit Mountain Ski Patrol is the 2010 recipient of the Award of Excellence, given annually to an individual or group in recognition of their dedication, commitment and service to Grandma's Marathon.

Members of the Spirit Mountain Ski Patrol volunteer to aid distressed runners from the finish line to the runners' recovery area or by shuttling them via wheelchair to the medical tent should additional care be needed. The support that the patrol has provided for more than 20 years is a crucial part of the medical operations of Grandma's Marathon.

The 2010 Volunteer of the Year Award will be announced at the race's volunteer appreciation event Sunday, June 27.

Grandma's Marathon weekend kicks off with the SMDC Health System Health and Fitness Expo which begins Thursday at 5 p.m. and continues all day Friday. Other Friday events include the Michelina's All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, the Whipper Snapper Races for Kids, the William A. Irvin 5K and live musical entertainment.

The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and Grandma's Marathon are Saturday, June 19. Nearly 16,000 are registered to compete in the three-race weekend, presented by Wells Fargo Bank Duluth, Target and Toyota. For more information, visit or call (218) 727-0947.