Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Grandma's Marathon Race Director Jon Carlson to Retire

Jon Carlson, only the second race director in the event's history, will step down September 30, 2015. Press release is below:

Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. has announced the retirement of Jon Carlson as the executive director effective September 30, 2015.

“My 12 years here with Grandma’s Marathon have been more enjoyable and rewarding than I could have ever imagined. Obviously, this year’s Grandma’s Marathon will now mean a bit more than the others,” Carlson said. “In the meantime, we have a lot of work left to do to ensure a great event for the participants coming to our race in June, and I am eager to continue our focus toward that goal.”

Carlson, 61, was the nonprofit organization’s race director from July 2003 until September 2013, when he was chosen to succeed Scott Keenan, who stepped down after 37 years with the organization. Keenan started Grandma’s Marathon with the North Shore Striders Running Club in 1977 and in May 2013 announced Grandma’s Marathon that year would be his last as executive director.

“The bottom line is simply my desire to spend more time with my family,” Carlson said. “My wife and kids deserve more of me, and I am just thankful and excited to be at the point in my career and my life to have this opportunity to do so.”

Prior to joining Grandma’s Marathon as race director in 2003, Carlson had worked in the Minnesota Power employee benefits department since 1980. He served on the Grandma’s Marathon board from October 2002 until being hired as a full-time staff member.

“Jon’s dedication and efforts as race director and executive director have been major factors in the growth and stability of our races and events. While his guidance and passion will be deeply missed, we appreciate having him here in the coming months to assist with the transition,” said John Hartwick, chairperson of the 17-member board that governs Grandma’s Marathon. “Our board and staff could not be happier for Jon and his family, and we all wish them well in this next chapter.”

The successor for the organization’s top position will be selected through a nationwide search that is expected to result in a new director being on board by the end of May. Carlson will guide the organization during the upcoming Grandma’s Marathon weekend in June and will have time both before and after the 2015 race weekend to work with the new director in order to ease the transition process.

Grandma’s Marathon weekend features milestone events in the next two years. This year marks the 25th running of the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon – for which lottery registration closes on Friday. Then, in 2016, Grandma’s Marathon celebrates its 40th anniversary.

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