If you are a runner, chances are that you are swinging into action for the Mercedes-Benz Marathon that’s about two months to go. While there are many marathons that take place in the USA at different times of the year, the Mercedes Marathon event is a much-awaited one for all long-distance runners.
The Mercedes-Benz race is an event that boasts participants from all across the world. It is exceptionally well organized and held at an excellent time of the year in Alabama. From half-marathon, marathon relay, and kid’s marathon to regions superhero 5k and marathon, it organizes different types of races suitable for all ages.
The races offer challenging treks that test your endurance and determination, and an objective that fires up that ambition to train for months. We will share all about Mercedes-Benz Marathon, so let’s get going.
- Mercedes Benz Marathon - Details You will Need
- Types of Marathon at the Event
- Mercedes Benz Marathon Event Timings
- Mercedes Benz Marathon Route
- Race Info - Not to be Missed!
- Participant Facilities
- How to Prepare for Mercedes Marathon
- Awards and Recognitions
- Prize Format for 2018
- Essentials for the Mercedes Marathon
- Travel and Lodging Info for Mercedes Marathon
Mercedes Benz Marathon - Details You will Need
Venue – Birmingham, Alabama
Date – February 9, 2018, to February 11, 2018
Difficulty level – Flat
As the Mercedes Benz Marathon celebrates its 17th year of the premier running weekend events by Birmingham, Alabama, it reminds us how it was taken to the next level by Valerie Mc Clean Cuddy (Owner of Trask Shak Running Shops) in the 1990s. This was the time when the Freeze Your Half Off Half-Marathon had grown up into a top class local programme.
The Mercedes-Benz Half-Marathon was launched in the year 2002 by Valerie in association with Mercedes-Benz, and since then there has been no looking back. It was launched with the intention to help facilitate The Early Intervention Program (now known as the Bell Center). All proceeds from the race are annually donated to the Ben Center for the Early Intervention Programs and other local children’s charities.
Whether you are participating in the full, half, or kids marathon event, there are certain requirements that need to be met as below:
- You must be at least 16 years of age or more on February 11, 2018 (on the race day) to be eligible to register for the race.
- Those who are under the age of 18 would need either their parents or local guardians to sign the participation waiver.
- For the kid’s Mercedes Marathon registration, they would need to be 12 years or more on the day of the race, February 11, 2018.
How do I register for the race?
The participant needs to go to www.mercedesmarathon.com and click on the Runsignup.com link or the "Registration" link. THERE IS NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION!
- Those who registered by August 31, 2017, for the Mercedes-Benz Marathon had to pay $75, registrations up to December 31, 2017, would cost $95, and registrations from January 1 to February 5, 2018, would cost $105.
- Those who registered by August 31, 2017, for the Mercedes Birmingham Half-Marathon had to pay $70, registrations up to December 31, 2017, would cost $90, and registrations from January 1 to February 5, 2018, would cost $100.
- Participants must register online and pay the registration fee using a credit card only.
- Online registrations will be closed after February 5, 2018. Post this, registration will be possible at the Expo on Friday or Saturday with an entry of $130 for a marathon and $120 for half-marathon.
- Participants cannot defer or transfer their registration. The fee is non-refundable.
Confirmation of Registration
All the entries related to Mercedes Marathon, Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Mercedes kids marathon and Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham Relay will be confirmed through an email sent by the registration host of the event, runsignup.com.
Please check the spam folder in case you are unable to find the confirmation email in your inbox.
Types of Marathon at the Event
The Mercedes Benz Marathon course is a certified one and thus is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. The results of the runners are automatically sent to the Boston Athletic Association that creates a real love story.
Time Restrictions for Full Marathon
Completing the race in six hours is a must for all participants which is decided as per the official clock time. Therefore, the participant must maintain a speed of around 13:44 minutes per mile.
Runners will find the famous “Balloon Lady” on the tracks (official last finisher) who will be running along to cover the race in 6 hours. If you are a full marathon participant or from the relay team and you are running behind the balloon lady as the course gets divided before mile 13, your direction will be changed to the half-marathon course and the relay teams will be disqualified. The half-marathon participants will receive a finish line facility along with a half-marathon medal.
Staying ahead of the “Balloon Lady” is imperative for the safety of all participants. Those who are behind the balloon lady at around mile 20 in Five Points South will be removed from the tracks by the security personnel or the police officers while the course is on.
It’s a road race that needs you to cover a distance of 13.094 miles (21.0975 kms) which is exactly the half distance of a full marathon.
Did You Know?
With the rise of competitive races in 1950, the race officials came up with an alternative option to the usual full marathon. This is when the half-marathon was conceptualized and implemented.
The Half Marathon participants have a 4-hour time limit and the finish line will close exactly at 11:03 a.m.
Also, it is to note that half-marathon is not included in the Olympic events or in the World Championships, but it earned its own championship in 1992 as the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
5k Superhero marathon
This marathon is for those who are not interested in full or half-marathon. This event organized by Mercedes Benz and is perfect for you and your family. It is conceptualized in a way that it fits people of all ages and fitness abilities.
It’s 3.1-mile course via Birmingham downtown as you contribute to a great cause and experience the great 5k marathon experience at the same time.
The 5 person relay is for all those who are not quite ready for the full or half marathon, or for a very long run like, the 5k. Perfectly suitable for friends or family the race begins at the same time as the Mercedes Marathon and Birmingham Half-Marathon. While there should be 5 participants in each team, they should a minimum of 12 years and more in age.
The facilities provided to the relay team is the same as the half-marathon that includes technical running merchandise and a smaller variant of the medal of the Mercedes-Benz Marathon Finishers.
The kid’s marathon is not as fun and easy as it sounds. It requires an advanced level of endurance building for five months that trains and prepares the body for the running or the walking events.
The races are designed for children from Kindergarten through 5th grade.
The training begins in September and stretches up to the race day where they have to run a full marathon of 26.2 miles distance over the course of 5 months. There is no official winner declared, but it allows the event organizers to keep a track of their progress.
Mercedes Benz Marathon Event Timings
10th Feb 2018 (Saturday)
- Regions Superhero 5K - 8:00 a.m.
- The Bell Center Children EIP Run - 10:00 a.m. (subject to change)
- The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Kids Mercedes Marathon - 11:00 a.m.
- Fifth graders will begin at 11:00 a.m. followed by each descending grade in 10-minute increments.
11th Feb 2018 (Sunday)
- Mercedes Marathon - 7:03 a.m.
- Mercedes Half Marathon - 7:03 a.m.
- Mercedes Marathon 5 Person Relay - 7:03 a.m.
Mercedes Benz Marathon Route
The sharing line is same for both the half and the full marathon that is close to the Birmingham Museum of Art downtown. The runners and the walkers participating in the half-marathon take the route via 8th Avenue, 24th Street, and 11th Avenue before entering the 19th Street that heads into the Alabama-Birmingham University campus.
After the runners have run for few blocks along the 1st Avenue, they then take south across the university campus and cover the distance before reaching the Green Springs Avenue along the Mercedes-Benz Marathon route
It gets hillier here and makes it a challenging course in the Mercedes Marathon. The runner now experiences the first important rise in the altitude via 10th Avenue and UAB Highlands to the 11th Avenue. The rise is about 600 feet above the sea level around the mile 6 that escalates to over 700 feet above the sea level as they reach the mile 8 symbol.
While crossing the mile 8 and 9 on the Mercedes marathon course map, runners will actually come across the highest elevation of the marathon that directs them to Highland Park, an area of Birmingham through several small local city parks one of which is Hanover Park and along the corners of the Golf Course situated in the Highland Park.
The elevation now starts going down back again forcing the runners to take the curved neighborhood streets along the radius.
According to the Mercedes marathon course map route slopes down to nearly 600 feet above the sea level that falls between the 10 and miles markers. The runners find their way back to the downtown to finish at the museum.
Race Info - Not to be Missed!
- Maximum cap for participants is 1000 for Full Marathon and 4000 for Half Marathon, so hurry up as space is limited!
- Race packets should be picked up by the participants only by presenting Photo ID and the race number. The confirmation email also works as the registration proof. Please note that multiple packet pickups are discontinued this year due to security concerns.
- Wearing bibs specially made for the race and the running watches (timers) is a must for all participants.
- The Marathon have pace groups for the following finishing times: 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, and 4:45 and 5:00.
- No bicycles, unofficial vehicles, pets, smoking, runners without registration or baby-joggers are strictly not allowed.
- No registrations or packet pickup allowed on the race day of the Mercedes Marathon. Participants can pick up their race packets only on February 9th & February 10th, 2018 which is available only at the Expo.
Wondering what’s in the race packets?
Well, the bags include a short sleeve technical tee which is the official Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham Marathon apparel along with other items furnished by the sponsors and the vendors.
As a participant, you can be a part of the Jim ‘N’ Nicks Bar-B-Q party after the race for which you will receive one meal ticket and one armband for beers (allowed for participants who are over 21 years of age and has a valid ID). You can purchase added tickets for noon-participants at $10.
The food and festivities are included in the registration fees. For beers, you would need to show your ID ensuring that you are getting yours. You can also avail of the Mercedes Benz half marathon coupon code 2018 for better discounts.
The Mercedes half marathon medal (looks more like a large and heavy car badge) and gifts for the official Mercedes Marathon finishers are distributed at the finishing line.
Fluid Stations and Track Support
The double loop course is equipped with 11 fluid stations that are fully staffed. These fluid stations are stuffed with petroleum jelly, ports lets, ibuprofen, water, and Powerade at each stop.
The miles are clearly marked and the presence of digital clocks at the start of each mile makes the race smoother for runners. There will be umpteen fruits and cookies for that sudden hunger pang, and enough live entertainment with cheerleaders, and more at different stops along the course. Miles 4, 8, 11, 17, 21, 24 will also have the GU provided to all participants.
Medical and Emergency Facilities
Among added facilities, participants are also equipped with emergency officials on call from Birmingham city and from St. Vincent’s Health System. The start to finish line is well equipped with medical stations for any emergency or injuries. However, if you have any medical issues related to the race or any personal medical conditions, you must inform the Mercedes Marathon staff in writing with any required medical details behind the race number and an emergency contact number on the registration form.
How to Prepare for Mercedes Marathon
The Training starts on September 30th and continues on every Saturday from 6 am in the morning until the Mercedes Benz marathon weekend at the Trak Shak in Homewood. This is a free group training arranged by the Trak Shak and the BTC (Birmingham Track club).
Beginner level trainees are scheduled for a 20-week marathon and 19-week half-marathon in Alabama along with rooms for cross training, tempo, hills, or speed work based to build up the skill level.
This will ensure that runners able to finish a 5k race or are able to run 10miles per week to start with the half-marathon training, or are able to finish a 10k, or able to run 15 miles per week to start training for the full marathon.
Awards and Recognitions
The top three finishers (male or female) are awarded in the below age groups
- 12 to 14
- 15 to 19
- 20 to 24
- 25 to 29
- 30 to 34
- 35 to 39
- 40 to 44
- 45 to 49
- 50 to 54
- 55 to 59
- 60 to 64
- 65 to 69
- 70 to 74
- 75 and above
The prize distribution for the full marathon will be held at 1:15 pm. The award must be picked up personally or through a friend since the awards are not mailed.
Prize Format for 2018
Winners for the cash prize of the Mercedes Marathon are decided based on the Gun Time. On the contrary, awards for the age divisions/groups will be scored and decided based on Marathon Chip and not Gun Time.
Overall cash winners will automatically not be eligible for age division awards. However, if you wish to receive the age division award (cash award), then it would be better than you overtake the start line timing pad at the earliest.
You are allowed to take double dips.
Full Marathon (male & female)
- 1st Place $2500
- 2nd Place $1250
- 3rd Place $750
- 4th Place $500
- 5th Place $250
Full Marathon – Wheelchair Division (male & female)
- 1st Place $300
- 2nd Place $200
- 3rd Place $150
Half Marathon (male & female)
- 1st Place $1000
- 2nd Place $750
- 3rd Place $500
Half Marathon - Wheelchair Division (male & female)
- 1st Place $200
- 2nd Place $100
- 3rd Place $75
U.S. Citizen Finisher
- Full – 1st – $500
- Half – 1st - $500
Local Runner (Birmingham Area)
- Full – 1st - $250
- Half – 1st - $100
Masters – Full Marathon (male & female) 40+years
- 1st Place $300
Masters– Half Marathon (male & female) 40+years
- 1st Place $150
Grand Masters (male & female) 50+ years
- Full – 1st $100
- Half – 1st $50
Essentials for the Mercedes Marathon
Make sure that you have all the essentials in your bag for the race. This will ensure that you do not miss any of the important events due to the lack of any of the below-mentioned items.
Invest in a sturdy and spacious carry-on bag that can squeeze in all the clothes, shoes, important documents, and even the smaller items (medicines, toiletries, snacks, and other significant items like, charger, adapter, extra batteries, and more) when packed intelligently. Make sure that it has a set of all types of clothes keeping the climate and the temperature in mind.
Make space for your gear too. Pack in all the essential items that can fulfill your needs even if your carry-on bag has not reached on time.
Travel and Lodging Info for Mercedes Marathon
From the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, it’s a 10 minutes distance to all the Mercedes Benz marathon Alabama that is being organized at Birmingham’s City Center (the heart of the city). You can book your stay at their host hotels such as, the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel and The Westin Birmingham that are placed in the Uptown District from where you can avail of the shuttle service to and from the airport.
Please note that there is no taxi available at the airport. You can avail of the special race weekend rates at these hotels. These hotels are located at a comfortable distance (walking distance) from the race venue.
So, if you are interested in participating in the Mercedes marathon events, you still have time to enroll.
However, the sooner you enroll the more time you get to train and prep up for the most awaiting races of USA.
So, go through the Mercedes Benz marathon review, get more info on all the aspects and get going!