Father Ben Hadrich

Father Ben Hadrich holds a homemade medal after completing his race for the Grandma’s Virtual Marathon.

The Grandma’s Marathon is an event usually held in Duluth the latter part of June, drawing hundreds of runners from across the country.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, race organizers have opted to turn the marathon, the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon and the William A. Irvin 5K into virtual races.

A virtual race allows runners to choose the day and location when they run their race, and they report their time to the race organizers.

One of the runners participating is Falls resident Father Ben Hadrich, who completed his race in Duluth June 26 with a time of 4:20:40.

“I ran on the boardwalk and lake walk, back and forth,” he said. “I ran early in the day to keep things cooler.”

Hadrich said running a virtual race was a different experience than what he was used to, but luckily he had a support system of his own to cheer him on.

“We miss the fans, the volunteers and those who cheer us on to keep us rolling,” he said. “It’s always helpful with friends to be fans. In my case, my mom and dad biked with me and passed over what I needed and encouraged me.”

Runners wanting to compete in any of the virtual races have until July 31 to submit their times.

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