Grandma’s Marathon has announced the recipients of its annual Ron Daws Ambassador Award, Award of Excellence, Don Fennessy Volunteer of the Year Award, Scott A. Keenan Founder’s Award, the 2019 Hall of Fame Award and the Thousand Miler Award.
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 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. Dan Conway is this year’s Ron Daws Ambassador Award winner. Conway was a four-time Grandma’s Marathon Master’s champion and also holds two records for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. Conway was much more than a runner, he was also a teacher, coach, musician, and a writer (“Carry on Regardless”). In May of 2018, Dan Conway passed away due to pancreatic cancer so the Award will be presented to his family.
The Award of Excellence is given annually to an individual(s) or group in recognition of dedication, commitment and service to Grandma’s Marathon. Country Hearth Breads is this year’s recipient of the Award of Excellence. Country Hearth has been a major sponsor of Grandma’s Marathon since 1987. Along with being a major sponsor, they also give $10,000 to the top male and female wheelchair finishers, provide all the bread products for the Michelina’s All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, and provide bread products for the hospitality suites and the finish line area. Country Hearth is also the official and exclusive sponsor of the Grandma’s Marathon Media Center on race day.
The Don Fennessy Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to an individual or group of individuals who have donated a tremendous amount of time volunteering for Grandma’s Marathon, and in doing so, have assisted in the smooth and successful operation of the event. This year’s recipient is Mike Tipple, a Hermantown teacher who has volunteered for Grandma’s Marathon for many years coordinating all of the wheelchair participants at the start and finish line.
The Scott A. Keenan Founder’s Award honors an exemplary person who embodies the history, vision and spirit of Grandma’s Marathon through their chosen area of contribution. The 2019 award will be presented to Wendy (Hovland) Cregg, first female champion of Grandma’s Marathon. Cregg is a Hoyt Lakes native and ran the inaugural marathon in 1977 at a time when women in sports was uncommon, especially long distance running.
The 2019 Grandma’s Marathon Hall of Fame Inductee is Kevin Peterson. Peterson is being recognized for his countless contributions to the success of Grandma’s Marathon. He passed away from pancreatic cancer so his family will be honored with the Award. Peterson was a lifelong Superior resident that has always been involved with Grandma’s Marathon since the beginning in 1977 as a member of the founding organization, the North Shore Striders. He was a member of the Board of Directors and a dedicated Grandma’s Marathon and Young Athletes Foundation volunteer. The Young Athletes Foundation created the KP Challenge, a series of three races, in his honor.
In addition to these annual awards, Grandma’s Marathon will be honoring two brothers to receive the prestigious Thousand Miler Award, Jim and Alan Evans. At the culmination of the 2020 race, they will have put in over 1,000 miles participating in Grandma’s Marathon events. They will each receive a distinctive belt buckle at the awards ceremony, an honor bestowed upon only five other runners to date.
A total of 19,303 participants are registered to compete in the weekend’s races, presented by Members Cooperative Credit Union and Toyota. For more information, visit www.GrandmasMarathon.com or call (218) 727-0947.