Grandma’s Marathon: Lindworm Brings Home Another Grandma’s Marathon Title – Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Dakotah Lindwurm, the women’s grandma marathon champion, walked along the North Shore Scenic Drive for a warm-up Saturday morning and came back telling Carolyn Mather, “That’s a huge tailwind.”

Mather, who works as the elite marathon liaison for Grandma’s Marathon and knows this race better than anyone, said, “You’re going to get the record.”

No, Lindwurm didn’t get it the Record, but oh she came close.

Lindwurm, who last year became the first Minnesotan to win the event since 1987, defended her title in style, covering the 26.2 miles from Two Harbors to Canal Park in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 1 second. That blasts the personal record of 2:29:04 she set at Grandma’s Marathon last year, right out of the water of Lake Superior.

“I can’t believe it,” said Lindworm of Eagan, Minnesota. “It’s a four-minute PR and a big step in my career. I’m so happy. I feel like I’m trying race after race to put together a great start to finish and today it finally all came together.”

Lindwurm, 27, literally runs with a smile on her face, a ray of sunshine beaming across the course and on Saturday she had a lot to laugh about as she was all alone for the last 10 miles and victory seemed to be in her hands.

But after that it was just tears, tears of joy as she crossed the line and gave grandpa Sev Wanous of Andover, Minnesota the biggest bear hug a petite 5-foot-1 marathon runner could give.

After winning the marathon, Dakotah Lindwurm hugs her grandfather Sev Wanous of Andover at the finish line of Grandma’s Marathon Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Duluth.

Clint Austin/Duluth News Tribune

“It’s the first time he’s watched me race and winning was incredible, but when I crossed the finish line and went straight into his arms I can’t even stop tearing up about it,” Lindwurm said. “That was the best day ever.”

As a matter of fact. With incentives, Lindwurm earned $20,000 for the win, some of which she said was used towards student loans from her time at Northern State. That’s four times more than the $5,000 she received for the 2021 COVID-ruffled race.

Officially, Lindwurm will now hold the original grandma marathon course record as the race returned to Superior Street for the first time since 2017 due to construction. Kellyn Taylor’s stunning 2:24:28, set in 2018 when the course ran along Michigan Street due to downtown construction, will hold the event record, considered the greater prize as the difference between these two courses is one question of splitting hairs.

“At 18 miles I was five seconds off the record, but that’s where I went through a rough patch and my first thought was, ‘I can’t do this. I’m definitely not sticking to that,’” Lindwurm said. “But at 18 miles you see this lift bridge, it’s so big, it’s so beautiful. I actually have a coffee mug that has this lift bridge written on it and I drink from it every morning. I changed my mind and said, ‘I’m not going to tell myself I can’t. I’ll keep running hard.’”

Lindwurm did just that, but once she turned off Superior Street and headed back to Canal Park, any chance of breaking the record was gone with the headwind.

“I almost ran away in the last mile,” Lindwurm said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this where I could fall at any step. My legs were in the garbage. They were just rubbish back then, but I just had to stick together to give myself a chance.”

It was easy to forget that this was a race, but as Lindwurm slowed a bit, the quiet Sarah Sellers of Ogden, Utah got closer than most people thought, finishing 42 seconds back in 2:25 :43 , cutting her personal record by just over six minutes.

At the start of grandma's marathon.
Elite female racers begin with Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

Steve Kuchera/Duluth News Tribune

Sellers trailed the leading group of Lindwurm, Esther Wanjiru and Molly Bookmyer by just three miles and ran her own race. While catching the last two and gaining ground on Lindwurm, Sellers never saw the leader.

“There’s a huge benefit in running a marathon with someone, but you kind of have to risk letting them go and thinking, ‘Either I’m going to catch him later, or he deserves to beat me,'” Sellers said, laughing . “I knew Dakotah was really strong, and if she ran in the 2:24 range, she deserved it. I figured my best case scenario would be around 2:26 and I was under that today so I was really happy with that.”

Sellers was second at Boston before, so she’s real, but she also has a 17-month-old daughter, Emery, who hugged her as soon as she crossed the finish line.

“I think I’m back,” Sellers said. “I feel stronger than ever.”

And Lindwurm too.

Lindwurm was a little disappointed with her 14th place finish in Boston this year. To add insult to injury, she contracted COVID while she was there.

Leave it to grandma to pick up her spirits again. That’s the only booster she needs.

“I didn’t grow up in Duluth, but I feel like a hero of my hometown here,” she said. “It’s always emotional. This was the place where I feel at home. Three years ago in 2019 I was allowed to walk in my mother’s arms. In 2020 I lost her, so in 2021 I ran into my dad’s arms, and then this year I ran into my grandfather’s arms…I don’t know how to top that.

“I don’t even know if (grandpa) said anything. He’s a stone cold hard man but he was crying his eyes out and I couldn’t help but cry too. We may have exchanged a few words, I don’t know, but I could feel how proud he was.”

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