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Grandma’s Marathon winner faster than all but six US women in history

Kellyn Taylor takes the marathon world by storm at popular race in Duluth, Minnesota

Thirty-one-year-old Kellyn Taylor, a firefighter from Flagstaff, Arizona (originally from Wisconsin), won the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota yesterday in an astounding time of 2:24:28, setting a new event record, lopping four minutes off her personal best, and establishing herself as faster than all but six women marathoners in American history. (Those women are Deena Kastor, Jordan Hasay, Shalane Flanagan, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Amy Hastings Cragg, and Des Linden.) It was Taylor’s first appearance at Grandma’s.

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Taylor was third at the NCAA indoor mile in 2009 for the Wichita State Shockers, but has since then mostly been putting in training and quietly doing well at races, including third place in the 5,000m at the Pan Am Games in 2015, fourth in the 10,000m at the 2016 Olympic trials, and eighth at the TCS New York City Marathon in 2017, without drawing a great deal of attention. Taylor had expressed an intention to podium at the Boston Marathon this year, but bad weather and hypothermia forced her out of the race at the 20K mark.

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The second-place finisher at Grandma’s yesterday was Askale Merachi, 31, of Ethiopia, for the second year in a row, and set a new PB of 2:30:18. Third was Serkalem Abrha, 31, of Ethiopia, in 2:33:44.

On the men’s side, Elisha Barno, 32,of of Kenya (who trains in Santa Fe, NM) won for the fourth straight year, in a time of 2:10:06. Ethiopian Birhanu Dare Kemal, 31, was second in 2:12:21, and Rodgers Gesabwa of Kenya was third, in 2:13:23.

Hometown girl and two-time Olympian Kara Goucher ran the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon yesterday, finishing in 1:18:15, for 21st place. She set the course record of 1:09:46 back in 2012, during the US Half Marathon Championships. 

The Grandma’s Marathon got its name from the chain of restaurants that were the original sponsors of the race, back in the late 1970s.