Lifelong Grandma's Marathon volunteer trading the tables for the - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Lifelong Grandma's Marathon volunteer trading the tables for the shoes this year

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DULUTH, MN -

In the 42-year history of Grandma's Marathon, the number 30 doesn't necessarily stand out.  But for Ashley Balaich, it's a lifetime.

"Every single year, I've never missed one," said Balaich. 

The 29 year old Duluth native has been a part of every Grandma's Marathon in her lifetime.  

"Technically, this will be my 30th one exactly," she said, "My first real Grandma's that I was actually in, my mom was actually pregnant with me," said Balaich.  

And every year since then, Balaich and her mom have been volunteering through everything. 

Balaich said, "We've had a delay of the start due to lightning conditions, extreme heat, extreme cold, monsoon winds, armyworms."

She's been volunteering so long, that her time predates the sports drink, Powerade, and instead, they were handing out something called XLR8. 

It's a commitment, she says, trumps all others.  

"We've said 'no' as a family to weddings, graduation parties, basically any event, we're like ' don't do it on Grandma's weekend.' This weekend means everything to my family," she said. 

As a seasoned veteran of the hydration stations, she's now lacing up to see what life on the other side of the table is like. 

"It's been a secret bucket list item of mine. One that I've actually never shared with someone, but it's something I wanted to do before I turned 30," said Balaich. 

And with that 30th birthday fast approaching on August 6th, it's now or never.

"The big 30, getting those bucket list items checked off," she said.  

Even though she won't be manning that table this year, her mom still will. 

"I really just want to get a glass of Powerade from my mom at mile marker number 25," said Balaich.  

With no goal time in mind, getting that cup of Powerade from her number one fan will be the ultimate prize.

Balaich said, "It's bittersweet that I won't be working with her this year, but to be able to take that glass from here, will honestly mean more than actually crossing the finish line." 

She is also running to raise awareness for a degenerative spinal disease that's impacting her dog, called intervertebral disk disease. 

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