Is Grandma’s Marathon Hilly

When it comes to running a marathon, one of the most important factors to consider is the course itself. Is it hilly? Is it flat? These questions can greatly impact a runner’s strategy and overall performance. In this article, I will delve deep into the terrain of Grandma’s Marathon and provide my personal insights and commentary.

The Scenic Route

Grandma’s Marathon is a world-renowned race that takes place in Duluth, Minnesota. Known for its breathtaking views of Lake Superior, this marathon attracts thousands of runners from all over the globe. But what about the elevation? Is it a challenging and hilly course or a more forgiving one?

The First Half

As I’ve had the experience of running Grandma’s Marathon myself, I can say that the first half of the course is relatively flat. Runners start in Two Harbors and follow along scenic Highway 61 towards Duluth. This stretch of the race offers a gentle downhill slope, which can be a nice advantage in the early stages of a marathon.

The Infamous Lemon Drop Hill

Now, let’s get to the real talk. Grandma’s Marathon is known for one particular hill that strikes fear into the hearts of many runners – Lemon Drop Hill. Situated around the 22-mile mark, this hill can be quite challenging to conquer. However, it’s important to note that it is only a short-lived section of the course. Once you tackle Lemon Drop Hill, the course levels out again.

As someone who has faced Lemon Drop Hill, I can assure you that the cheers and support from fellow runners and spectators make this feat a bit easier. The energy and camaraderie on race day can truly lift your spirits and propel you forward, no matter how steep the hill may seem.

The Final Stretch

After conquering Lemon Drop Hill, the remaining miles of Grandma’s Marathon offer a relatively flat and fast finish. The course winds through scenic downtown Duluth, making the last few miles a memorable and exhilarating experience. With the cheers of spectators echoing in your ears, you’ll find the motivation to push through and cross that finish line.


So, is Grandma’s Marathon hilly? While there are certainly a few challenging sections along the way, I would say that the overall course profile leans more towards being a moderately hilly race. The ups and downs add an element of difficulty, but they also provide an opportunity to showcase your strength and determination.

Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner looking for a new challenge or a first-timer seeking a scenic and supportive atmosphere, Grandma’s Marathon is a race worth considering. Lace up your running shoes, embrace the hills, and embark on an unforgettable journey along the shores of Lake Superior.