First of Six Inductees Planned for Class of 2022
(DULUTH, MINN.) — Rick Recker has been officially inducted into the Grandma’s Marathon Hall of Fame, the first of six individuals set to be enshrined as the Class of 2022 after making longstanding and meaningful contributions to the race and community.
This is the largest single class to be inducted since the Hall of Fame’s inaugural year in 1996, but it comes after 2020 and 2021 yielded no new members due to race weekend adjustments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is almost three years of work being done in one because of what we’ve all been through with postponements, modifications, everything the world has thrown at us these past few years,” executive director Shane Bauer said. “These six people have been integral parts of the success of Grandma’s Marathon, and they all deserve to be in the Hall of Fame so we’re excited to have them go in as one big group.”
Recker, the longtime official referee for both Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, was the first of the Class of 2022 to be officially inducted.
“I can’t think of anything more special. I just can’t,” Recker said upon officially receiving his Hall of Fame award. “Duluth is a beautiful city, the race itself is one-of-a-kind. I never did anything to intentionally be here, but I had a lot of fun. I guess those of us in the running community like to have fun. I’ve had more than my fair share, and here I am.”
Recker helped to develop, measure, and recertify both the full and half marathon racecourses during the Superior Street reconstruction project in Duluth, and he’s helped certify courses for our other Young Athletes Foundation (YAF) races throughout the year as well.
A former president of both the Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field (USATF) and Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA), Recker served for much of his career as the state’s course certifying official. Buoyed by his staunch belief that running be a sport for everyone, Recker was a positive presence for decades at nearly every major event throughout the state and Upper Midwest.
A runner himself in his younger years, Recker twice finished Grandma’s Marathon and completed 30 total marathons in his lifetime. For his life’s body of work in the sport of distance running, he was previously inducted into the Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Recker was officially inducted into the Grandma’s Marathon Hall of Fame during a private ceremony at his Twin Cities home last week. Race founder and longtime executive director Scott Keenan was also on hand to make Recker an honorary member of the North Shore Striders Running Club.
The rest of the Class of 2022 will be named and inducted virtually throughout the buildup to Grandma’s Marathon weekend, which is set for June 16-18. After all six members are officially inducted, the Grandma’s Marathon Hall of Fame will be made up of 85 individuals, organizations, and municipalities.
ABOUT GRANDMA’S MARATHON
Grandma’s Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. There were just 150 participants that year, but organizers knew they had discovered something special. Grandma’s Marathon weekend draws more than 20,000 participants for its three-race event each June.
The race got its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma’s Restaurants, the first major sponsor of the marathon. Over time, the level of sponsorship with the restaurants changed, but the name stayed the same. Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with a 17-member Board of Directors and a nine-person, full-time staff.