Hanna Grinaker is one of seven inductees to this year’s class of the Detroit Lakes Athletic Foundation’s Hall of Honor.
Grinaker is a rarity for the Hall in the fact that she is still competing.
At Detroit Lakes, Grinaker was a two-time state cross country runner-up and dominated every regular season and section meet from her freshman through senior seasons, along with being a versatile star of the track and field team.
She’s the school record holder in the 800, 1,600, 3,200m races, and ran anchor on the record 4x800m school record relay team. In cross country, Grinaker holds the best 4k and 5k cross country times ever.
“Hanna was probably one of the strongest competitors I’ve ever been around,” said former DL head track coach Mike Labine. “She was going to put herself out there on the line every day as hard as she possibly could. It’s just amazing how hard she worked.”
Grinaker starred for the Badgers at the University of Wisconsin out of high school after graduating from DLHS in 2006.
She was the 2006 Big Ten freshman of the year in cross country, an All-American 2006-07, All-Region 2006-08 and two-time first team All-Big Ten 2006-07, second team in 2008.
Her final collegiate season was wiped out due to injury.
In her fifth year at Wisconsin, Grinaker suffered a pubic ramus stress fracture while training for the Big 10 cross country championships and did not run for a year.
Grinaker pursued her master’s degree in exercise science at North Dakota State University and was a grad assistant for the Bison track and cross country programs.
She got back into competing at the 2013 Fargo half marathon, which she won.
By 2016, she was competing in triathlons and in her first year she competed in eight triathlons, won four and set course records at four.
She continued to compete, winning a 50k trail race and began competing on fat bikes before returning to triathlons in 2018 going undefeated in seven races.
Grinaker placed second overall in the female amateur division at Ironman Wisconsin and qualified for Ironman Kona in what was called the amateur Ironman performance of the year in a battle with Illinois’ Jacqui Giuliano, the race winner.
In Hawaii, Grinaker crossed the finish line the 13th overall female amateur after a one-hour, 2.4 mile swim in the Pacific Ocean, a five-hour, 112-mile bike ride leading to the finishing marathon,
She was the second American woman to finish and recorded a 13-minute personal record in what was an emotional weekend after completing the world’s toughest race and getting engaged to her fiance Sean Cooley in the same week.
“I did feel pretty emotional about it,” she said. “Races are so exposing. They expose all of your vulnerabilities when you’re racing like that. I put so much into it. You want to show people how prepared you were. I was strong mentally; I did what I was supposed to. Sometimes that gives you the most anxiety. You want it all to come together to show all that time and sacrifice was worth it. Finishing like that, maybe it was a little relief but it was so fulfilling but in a way that I’m not done. I want to do it again and I want to try for something more.”
Grinaker is a registered dietitian, endurance athlete and metabolic specialist at The Fit Space in the Twin Cities.
The Hall of Honor is filled with inductees with ties to the track and field teams:
Rich Borstad, Jack Campbell, Craig Fredrickson, Todd Jorgenson, Dave Nelson of the 2008 induction class. Norris Johnson, Ed Larson, Anne (Schiller) Riddle, Wally Walbaum (2010); Jessica Abrahams, Dennis Drews, Mike Neitzke and Darold Thompson (2012); Michele (Mallow) Baker, Ron Noesen and the 1987 State True Team championships track and field team (2014); Bruce Barrett, Brent Eidenschink, David Johnson and Kelli (Sutton) Miller.
Grinaker is the first cross country runner to be inducted and with fellow 2020 inductee Barb (Barret) Dyk (1979) the sixth and seventh individual females to be honored.
Other 2020 inductees are: Jeff Mohr, long-time teacher, coach and Laker supporter, Peter Irvine (1964), Ryan Manke (2000), Shane Tappe (2002) and the 2007-08 girls basketball team, along with Dr. Tom Seaworth (Anderon-Lia Award) and James Wood (Honorary Letter Winner).
Those stories will be published in future editions of the Tribune.
The Hall of Honor ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19 at the DLCCC Ballroom.
Tickets for the event will be $30 per person and will go on sale later this summer.
Grinaker was featured in a two-part Tribune series last November.