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A marathon column for the rest of us

(Duluth News Tribune file photo)

So the sun came out in Duluth, which means it's tourist time. But not just any tourist time, mind you. Thanks to the special brand of sweating and running and drinking and falling over (sometimes all at once) tourist, this early summer time is unique. It's called Grandma's Marathon.

Like any normal Duluthian, you've probably hightailed it outta town to your hot tub luxury suite at the Super 8 in Blaine by now, munching Crunchy Cheddar Cheetos and trying to escape the hellish runscape that is marathon weekend. But you've come to the wrong place, Russell! Time for my traditional Grandma's Marathon Random Thoughts column!

So lick off those dusty orange-encrusted fingertips and let's go ...

• I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but due to the high volume of queasiness exhibited by the participants, I bet Grandma's Marathon is somehow tied to the restaurant.

• I ran the marathon once, only it wasn't the usual 26.2-mile route. It was from the Lift Bridge to the DeWitt-Seitz building. And it wasn't a race as much as it was being chased by an angry seagull. And I didn't sweat; I shrieked like an 8-year-old girl who touched a frog. Otherwise, exactly the same.

• Marathon Trivia: In 1989, Jeno Paulucci started the race by blasting a John Fedo-shaped frozen pizza out of a cannon. The race had to be stopped, however, when pepperoni sideburn chunks bounced off of several runners' thighs.

• Imagine how much more fun this event would be if, instead of a pre-race spaghetti feed, they had a pre-race chocolate prune feed. You're welcome, Visit Duluth.

• Coming in 2017! "Grandma's Marathon Running Man" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic tourist weaving his way through Canal Park, trying to dodge panhandlers, watered-down drinks and potholes.

• My marathon training consists mainly of pudding.

• More marathon trivia: In 2000, presidential candidate Al Gore came to town to run the marathon. In an eerie harbinger of things to come, he dropped out of the race after being tripped up by a bunch of guys named Chad who were hanging around R.T. Quinlan's.

• A half-marathon is still a bit too much for me, but when they announce the formation of the 1/100th marathon, I'll be the second to sign up. Right after Justin Liles.

• Even more marathon trivia: The first race was June 25, 1977. The winner crossed the finish line in 2:21:54. The loser crossed the finish line in 2013. (Good job, Justin!)

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at He vows to someday run in Grandma’s Marathon. He also vows to someday flap his arms and fly to the moon, star in the Broadway revival of “Romeo and Juliet” and win eight gold medals in the Rio Olympics. We’ll see which one happens first.

Brian Matuszak

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at