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Longtime start line volunteers to be inducted into Grandma's Marathon Hall of Fame

By Zach Schneider

A trio of longtime Grandma’s Marathon start line volunteers will make up the Class of 2024 and be inducted in June into the event’s Hall of Fame. 

Greg Helgeson, Paul Iversen and Bob Larkin are this year’s inductees, having been chosen for making longstanding and meaningful contributions to the race and the community.

Iversen has been involved the longest of the three, having first volunteered in 1979 and working every race but one or two since, and he is also the only of the group to have run the marathon.

“I went to work the race in the 1980s, and I had running clothes on under those,” he remembers. “It was a hot day, so that made it tough. One’s enough for me, I’m happy to stay at the start line these days.”

Iversen and Helgeson knew each other from the time they were kids, and they’ve both seen the marathon grow and grow during their time volunteering. Helgeson hasn’t been there as long as Iversen, but he estimates he’s been involved with 20 or more marathons over the years.

“We all have our own jobs and areas, but everybody chips in,” Iversen said. “When a lot of people focus on the small things, you see the big thing start to come together.”

“It’s such a cast of characters,” Helgeson said of Iversen and the other start line crew. “There are people I’ve known from before and people I’ve met through the marathon, but we all come back every year to be part of this thing. I tell you what, it’s been very special.”

Larkin, meanwhile, moved to Two Harbors in 1995 and soon after that got involved with the marathon. Both Iversen and Helgeson said he fit right in with the group, and he quickly became someone they could count on to be back year after year.

Larkin passed away in December 2023 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease, and he will be missed at this year’s Grandma’s Marathon start line.

The trio will be officially enshrined during the Grandma’s Marathon Awards Luncheon at noon on Friday, June 21 at The Garden Event Center.


Class of 2024
Greg Helgeson
Paul Iversen
Bob Larkin

Class of 2023
Elisha Barno
Dan Dock
Barb Korte

Class of 2022
Glenn Evavold
Jim Greenfield
Monica Halligan
Deb Pawlowicz
Rick Recker
Dick Skogg

Class of 2020-21

Class of 2019
Kevin Peterson

Class of 2018
Jeff Frey
Lizette Mitchell
Deanna Nordeen

Class of 2017
Adele Hartwick
Amanda McGrory
Doug Nelson

Class of 2016
Joe Hietala
Erik Nelson
Kraig Rudstrom

Class of 2015
Tim Hollis
John Kessler

Class of 2014
Scott Keenan

Class of 2013
Carol Gallinger
Mike Krois
Rudy Lundahl
Saul Mendoza

Class of 2012
City of Duluth
City of Two Harbors

Class of 2011
Ron Francisco
Steve Harrington
Ed Hermel
GB Leighton
Chelly Townsend

Class of 2010
477th Medical Company
Chuck & Sally Hegg
John Leppi
Bill & Nancy Olsen
Kevin Pates

Class of 2009
John Docter
Steve Greenfield
Kellie Luedloff
Bill Wenmark

Class of 2008
Sharon Buchanan
Jerry Frederick
Jeno Paulucci
Mary Spiering

Class of 2007
Neil Franz
Greg Haynes
Dale Kusnierek

Class of 2006
North Shore Striders

Class of 2005
Candy Furo
Taire (Lind) Suliin

Class of 2004
Don Fennessy
Gino & Kathy Goedel
Michael Pinocci

Class of 2003
Candace Cable
Ken & Mona Rae Cich
John Kulick

Class of 2002
Rick Jackson
Joe Johnson
John Naslund
James Nowak

Class of 2001
Brian Daugherty
Jan Ettle
Brian Larsen
Paul Van Winkel

Class of 2000
Joan Dahlstrom
Herb Dillon
Cindy Nelson
Mac Welles

Class of 1999
David Eckstrom
Doug Kurtis
Lorraine Moller
Tami Oothoudt

Class of 1998
Dick Beardsley
Peter Graves
Barney & Janis Klecker
Wen Shi Yu

Class of 1997
Gerald Church

Class of 1996
Andy Borg
Garry Bjorklund
George Fink
John Foschi
Mickey Paulucci
Alex Ratelle
Dorothy Spencer