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.