Tuesday, June 14, 2011

As Grandma’s Marathon turns 35, race legends look back

Garry Bjorklund’s blistered feet screamed for help after reaching London Road in the inaugural Grandma’s Marathon. The rookie road racer, and running shoe store owner, made a rookie mistake by using new shoes.

At 19 miles, near the Lester River Bridge, on a hot morning on June 25, 1977, he stopped, pulled off his racing shoes and hailed a friend on a bicycle, carrying his well-worn Nike Waffle Trainer shoes.

The swap was made, his feet were happy and the 26-year-old Bjorklund carried on for a victory in his first race of 26.2 miles, winning by nearly five minutes. It came less than a year after he made the 10,000-meter track final in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, and gave Grandma’s Marathon immediate credibility.