Grandma's Marathon announced yesterday that Greg Haapala has accepted the position of Race Director. Haapala has been a full-time employee with Twin Cities In Motion, the nonprofit organizer of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, since 2012, serving as the Participant Services and Events Manager. He oversaw the Health & Fitness Expo, elite athlete program, hospitality and lodging, and the Corporate Team Challenge. Additionally he led the Events & Services division of the organization’s year-round volunteer team and played a key role in hosting USATF National Championships at the one mile, ten mile and marathon distances. Prior to coming to Minnesota, Haapala worked in collegiate athletics at the University of Detroit Mercy (Michigan) where his duties included event operations, sales and fan experience. So he has quite the resume.
"Grandma's Marathon is an outstanding organization that is highly respected in the event industry and committed to the community of Duluth,” Haapala said. “I'm excited to join the team and help build on the tradition and success fostered by the staff, board of directors, sponsors and volunteers for the past 40 years."
In addition to his role with Twin Cities In Motion, Haapala has served as a volunteer captain for Grandma’s Marathon since 2015 as well as volunteered with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. He co-founded and currently serves as a volunteer director for the nonprofit National Intercollegiate Running Club Association and also sits on the Team USA Minnesota Board of Directors.
According to a press release from Grandma's Marathon Executive Director Shane Baur says, “We are thrilled to welcome Greg to our team. His work experience, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the running community will enrich the organization and help us tailor operations to meet the changing needs of our participants".
Haapala is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in Sport Management and Communications. He will officially begin his new role at the end of October and will be working with the Grandma’s Marathon staff to direct a host of year-round races and events for Grandma's Marathon Duluth, Inc and the Young Athletes Foundation.
The 41st Grandma’s Marathon Weekend is June 15-17, 2017.