2014 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Race Recap

Happy Wednesday Friends, buckle up, this is a long one!

Here was my race plan. It was fairly accurate, although some parts were rearranged. I ended up driving from Minneapolis to Duluth on Friday. I arrived in Duluth about 3 pm which was the perfect time, decent parking, not too crowded.

Pre-Race Dinner: was Thirsty Pagan Brewery and Pizza. I stayed in the dorms and at the last minute my friend Megan joined me since we were both doing the half. We laid out our stuff and talked about race strategy, and went to bed, very happy that neither of us were doing the full this time!

Wake Up! 4 am, Get dressed, glide (no blisters or chaffing!!), and went downstairs to get coffee and toast our bagels. We brought our own bagels, the dorms did provide bread if we had preferred. Eat, and get on the bus.

Bus: This was my first time leaving from UMD, and it was a headache. For some reason they were only filling one bus at a time, so the line to get on was a mile long! I understand wanting each bus full, but we wasted so much time standing in the cold next to buses that were just waiting for people, but we weren’t allowed on.

Garry Bjorklund Half StartPacers: I had intended on lining up with the 2:15 pacer. Due to the bus loading delay I wasn’t even lined up when the gun went off! Next time…I will wake up at 3:45 and put more pressure to get out to door at 4:45 when the buses start running.

At mile 5 I did catch the 2:30 pacer, I thought I had passed them, but around mile 9 realized that they must have passed me. Thankfully, I passed the man below, as I couldn’t have done the whole race looking at his bum!

Garry Bjorklund Half ParticipantRace: I broke the course into three chunks.

The first five miles are along the lake,

The middle four miles are all houses (and have the best crowd support),

The last four miles are the toughest and longest.

My plan was to take the first five slow and warm up, the middle four to keep the pace, and the last four to push it. I didn’t walk much, just the couple hills and water stops, my heart was focusing on Grandma Pat, and my legs were doing what they could. While I did the best I could, my overall time was not as fast as Run for the Lakes Half.

Overall Time: 2:39:56

Bag Check: I do have a bone to pick with the race officials over bag check. I’m not sure what happened this year, but getting our bags back took a hour! While I was waiting we were shoulder to shoulder, packed front to back, two people passed out, a girl behind me puked. We called for medics and thankfully there were doctors in the crowd who were racers, but no race official ever came to give aid.

Post Race BeerOnce I got my bag I picked up my free beverage, got some lunch with my race buddy Megan, and waited for the girl right above Kayla, to finish her second marathon!!! She looked super strong at the finish, and really makes me consider doing the full again in 2015. We had a great afternoon visiting friends, eating good food, and drinking.

Grandma's Marathon MusicI did go into the tents in the evening as a friend’s cousin was playing in one of the bands. They put on a great show! It was a much later night (11 pm) than I anticipated, but it felt good to stay busy and be with friends. Burrito Union BreakfastSunday morning I packed up my car, and stopped at a few of my favorite spots in Duluth. I decided on breakfast at Burrito Union. An egg quesadilla with bacon was just what the doctor ordered!

Overall: A wonderful weekend in Duluth, being early and having patience is a requirement for dealing with large crowds.


  1. Great recap. I cannot believe the story about waiting to get your bag back. I certainly hope they will plan better for next year. I am sold on the course and would love to do the full at some point. Great race!

  2. Awesome recap! I like that it wasn’t all about how you were feeling every.single.mile. Bummer about the bag check.

    1. Thank you! Races are interesting, I cannot remember each and every mile even if I wanted to!

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