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Posted: June 2, 2021::  

Athletics: Former Champions Return To Highlight 2021 Grandma’s Marathon Field

Kongin, Kiptoo, and Myers Could Join Prestigious Group of Repeat Winners at Duluth Race

(DULUTH, MINN.) --- Three former champions are expected to be on the starting line for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon and will have the chance to join some very rare company if they can add another victory to their running resume.

Defending men’s champion Boniface Kongin is slated to return after outdueling the field in 2019, running a 2:11:56 to beat out four-time champion Elisha Barno and event record holder Dominic Ondoro. Kongin ran much of that 2019 race in record pace, but he was slowed in the final 10K as he dealt with severe cramping.

Not only will the Kenya native try to become the first back-to-back men’s winner at Grandma’s Marathon since Barno won the first two of his four titles in 2015-16, he would be just the seventh man to win multiple Grandma’s Marathons titles.

Sarah Kiptoo is also expected to return this year, and she will be trying to join Mary Akor (2007-09) and Lorraine Moller (1979-81) as the only three-time women’s winners of Grandma’s Marathon. The Kenya native won titles in 2013 and 2016 and also finished third in 2014 and 2015. She finished 10th the last time out on this course in 2019, finishing with a time of 2:38:46.

Kiptoo’s 2013 winning time of 2:26:32 was then an event record and only recently broken when Kellyn Taylor ran a 2:24:28 in 2018.

2014 champion Pasca Myers is also expected to compete in the women’s elite field, and she will be trying to become just the eighth woman to win at least two Grandma’s Marathon titles. She also ran here in 2019, finishing in eighth place with a time of 2:36:13.

With a reduced field for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon, there are 29 men and 29 women expected to be in the elite field on Saturday, June. 19. The 45th annual Grandma’s Marathon is scheduled to start at 7:45 a.m. and can be followed live on our radio and TV partners, The Northland FAN 106.5 FM and WDIO-TV.

For more information, please call our office at (218) 727-0947 or visit For any interview requests, please contact Marketing & Public Relations Director Zach Schneider at (218) 343-9874 or


Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. There were just 150 participants that year, but organizers knew they had discovered something special. Grandma’s Marathon weekend draws approximately 20,000 participants for its three-race event each June.

The race got its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma’s Restaurants, the first major sponsor of the Marathon. Over time, the level of sponsorship with the restaurants changed, but the name stayed the same. Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with a 17-member Board of Directors and a nine-person, full-time staff.

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