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Grandma’s Marathon Loses Loyal Volunteer

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Dec. 23, 2011
Grandma's Marathon's Don Fennessy will be remembered as the ultimate selfless volunteer. Photo: Duluth News Tribune

He was instrumental in the race’s success since 1980.

Grandma's Marathon's Don Fennessy will be remembered as the ultimate selfless volunteer. Photo: Duluth News Tribune

Some sad news out of Duluth, Minnesota: longtime volunteer Don Fennessy has passed away of pancreatic cancer.

According to the race ‘s executive director Scott Keenan, Fennessy is one of the reasons the race has been such a success the past 35 years. The Duluth native had been with the race since 1980 and was inducted into its hall of fame in 2009.

“Don was one of those rare individuals willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to make something a success,” Keenan said. “He was a critical element, instrumental to our success. He took on duties, a lot of them, and always did each job right. He’s someone who can’t be replaced.”

Fennessy was a Minnesota Power community engineer for the past 30 years and retired in 1995.

As a volunteer, he worked in race traffic control and acted as a liaison with police and public works departments.

Two months before he passed away, the marathon honored him in a special ceremony. “He was healthy enough to say goodbye to everyone and was smiling the entire time,” said Keenan.

For More: Duluth News Tribune

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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