Lakeside residents preparing to support runners - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Lakeside residents preparing to support runners

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DULUTH, MN -

If you're one of the dozens of residents who live along the Grandma's race route, your options are to get out before you're boxed in by crowds and runners or embrace your front row seats to the action.

Most runners prefer that second option and often say once they hit London Rd in Duluth it's a completely different race and a number of volunteers and residents along that road take pride in making it that way.

On this three mile stretch of residential road the sport is either running or cheering.

Lakeside neighbor Elsie Davis got her first taste of the Grandma's Spirit volunteering along London Road. 

"That was right at mile 20 and then I was inspired by watching all the runners run and then when I started doing the half marathon and I've done that 12 times and the first time I ran then I was inspired by the spectators."

This year Davis will be one of the volunteer co-captains at mile marker 21. She'll stand alongside her family, making sure runners get the supplies and the spirit they need to make it the next five miles.

"It is really a big community race," she said. "Everyone comes out for it."

While runners certainly enjoy the support at mile 21 they'll really need it about a mile up the road.

At mile 22 starts the most infamous part of the race. It signals the start of Lemon Drop Hill where the course gets to it's steepest and it's also where you'll find Elaine and Per Wickstrom who've been cheering on runners for the past three decades.

"You feel like you oughta cheer 'em on because they need it but it's a little uncomfortable to be clapping and yelling for people you don't know," Elaine Wickstrom said.

Self-proclaimed introverts, the Wickstroms said cheering on runners is a little out of their comfort zone but they feel it's their duty to encourage the athletes who pass by their house.

"One of the most exciting parts is when the wheelchairs come through in the beginning," Wickstrom said. "They're amazing people to be able to do that."

So just like their neighbors from mile 19 to 22, the Wickstroms will be out bright and early to provide a little inspiration to those who inspire them.

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