Duluth hotel madness

Last night, I began my search for a hotel for Grandma’s Marathon, and I’m glad I didn’t wait another day! I discovered that finding an available room at a reasonable rate in the Duluth / Two Harbors area is next to impossible the weekend of Grandma’s Marathon.

It’s an issue that comes up every year. I read several places that hotel price inflation and availability are consistently a top complaint among race participants. (Read this 2008 article from the Star Tribune to get a better sense of the issue.)

I ended up booking a room at the University of Wisconsin – Superior (just across the bridge from Duluth). Yes, the hotel room demand is so high on race weekend in Duluth that even the major universities in the area rent out their dorm rooms to runners. Insane!

You can get a room for two nights (Fri-Sat) at UW-Superior for $155. The perk of staying there — aside from the fact that it’s probably the cheapest rate, not to mention one of the few accommodations available right now — is that a free shuttle bus picks up runners and takes them to the start line in Two Harbors on race morning from campus. Also, you can book your room online, so it’s convenient.

If you are participating in Grandma’s Marathon weekend events, good luck in your quest to find a hotel. Remember, the race is the reward; all this other stuff is the hard part.