Was Part of Organization’s Inaugural Hall of Fame Class

(DULUTH, MINN.) — Dorothy Spencer was presented on Grandma’s Marathon weekend with the 2023 Scott A. Keenan Founder’s Award, the organization announced today.

Spencer, already a member of the inaugural class into Grandma’s Marathon Hall of Fame, was honored for her lifetime contributions that have contributed to and embodies the history, vision, and spirit of the race.

Called a second mother by Scott Keenan, the founding executive director of Grandma’s Marathon, Spencer moved to Duluth in 1975 with her husband, Rick, and soon after became a mainstay of the North Shore Striders.

The Spencer’s home was the early headquarters of Grandma’s Marathon, and Keenan credits Dorothy not only with sharing his vision for the race, but also with keeping things organized.

“I felt a sense of calm with her there,” Keenan wrote in his book, My Journey to Grandma’s Marathon: History & Heroes, “especially when I started to feel frazzled.”

Following a move to Minnetonka, Minn. in 1979 followed shortly after by Rick’s death in 1980, Dorothy continued to return each Grandma’s Marathon week to help with the race. Her duties ranged from answering phones and planning the post-race awards ceremony to helping out at the finish line on race day.

Spencer has contributed more than four decades to Grandma’s Marathon, even completing the 26.2-mile race twice, and now resides in a lake home near Tomahawk, Wis.

Now 90 years old, she ran this year’s William A. Irvin 5K and posted a new personal best time of 43:53 in the 30th annual event.

Spencer was presented with the 2023 Scott A. Keenan Founder’s Award at a post-race reception following this year’s race, making her the seventh person to receive the award.


2023 – Dorothy Spencer

2022 – Garry Bjorklund

2021 – Brian Larsen

2019 – Wendy (Hovland) Cregg

2018 – Mike Krois

2017 – Dan Russell

2016 – Tami Tanski Sherman