The weather for this marathon was great. The cold weather is perfect to run in. I agree about the above, not as many cheering people for us at the finish line. 26.2 miles is quite a way to go and anyone completing it deserves some loud cheering! Other than that, everything went well. I was a little disappointed in the food though. One BBQ sandwich and a small cole slaw? I figured there would be more than that. I had to go to Taco Bell afterward and get full again ...
My ninth year at Mercedes - 7th as the balloon lady. Needless to say I love this race as I keep coming back year after year! I love the medal and the shirt. Cotton shirts are okay, but I wear my technical shirts as much or more, and not just for races. I was so far behind that I had no problems with getting my finisher shirt. I missed most of the post-race, but that comes with the territory. Congrats to all the finishers! One more thing. Please tell friends who are thinking about this race that the 6-hour time limit is a REAL time limit, not like some races that SAY they have a 6-hour limit but pull police and volunteers earlier than that. If you stay ahead of the balloon lady, you will be supported the entire time! I love the Birmingham police - they are the best!
This was a decent race. There seemed to be a lack of organization on what to do with the runners at the start...they put us all at the start line and said no more run outs at 6:55, then Mercedes guy told us we were starting at 6:56 but then we all stood around for about 7-8 minutes...not a huge deal to me cause I'm from MN so the cold didn't bother me but some of the others were getting kind of cranked about making us stand and waiting for TV after they had herded us all into the starting chute.
Good race though overall for the size. Shirt is cool. Plenty of aid along course.
THANK YOU, great "balloon lady"! You are awesome! Although I just heard of your name "balloon lady" but haven't seen you yet because I fnished behind the 4:00 pacer ladies. My RR friend said you were just right behind him. You all the good runners but willing to sacrifice to be the "volunteers". Due to the economic downtime, we do get a lot of cut - everywhere in the country. However, teh Mercedes Marathon Spirit is keeping strong. I love the medal and tech shirt because this was just the 2nd one to me and I got many cotton shirts already. Solute to our "balloon lady"! I will come back for MM run again if my Lord let me and help me so. Cheer! X:D
You're right. This year's organization was a bit dissolute than last year's, probably due to short of voluteers. There were no carrols to seperate the different pace runners, maybe due to less runners so no need to do so. The start time was very close, if not exactly, to the time mentioned in the final instruction email and website - 7:03, however, the guy at the microphone confused runners a bit and not many people heard the guy shut, not by the microphone and too small, people get stoalled for a few seconds and start to run when the gate keepers shouted, run, run, run! then "stampede" happened! Welcome, Vikingman! Bamian welcome U!
I was pleasantly surprised with the race. For a small to mid-sized race, it was great coming from a guy from out-of-town with 20 races completed. The race was well organized, the volunteers, police and residents exhibited southern hospitality at its best. Even though there were no corrals at the start, there was no shoving or pushing at the start of the race; and even throughout the race I did not encounter groups running 4 to 5 abreast. And being able to stay inside the auditorium before the race was an added bonus.
Areas the organizers may want to consider improving:
1) I asked six volunteers at the expo exactly where the start was and no one knew the street or intersection of the start only that it was in front of the auditorium, which did not help when you don?t know the location of the auditorium. (The map I had was not that detailed.)
2) No one at the expo knew the requirements for bag check. Turns out you can use any bag and label it any way. Some races are very specific on bag check and I try to avoid surprises the morning of the race.
3) A couple of the roads were in pretty rough shape, especially 1st Ave S (I think)
4) Volunteers had abandoned the GU station at mile 20, but a resident had stepped-up and was trying to fill in.
5) The post-party was impressive, but as the marathoners arrived, it was packed. The lines for a massage or beer were too much for me. I gave up and went back to the hotel.
Overall a good race and I would consider it again, but put the finisher shirt in the expo bag.
As a race volunteer and marathon finisher I would like to say congrats to Birmingham Event team for a great race! If you have not volunteered for a race like this you have no idea how much work goes into an event like this. As you are posting complaints and suggestions consider how YOU can make a difference. If you don't think there was enough encouragement on the course, get your family and friends out there next year. If you don't think the expo was organized, volunteer next year. If you want 2 shirts or more "loot" in your race packet, help bring in more corporate sponsors. Most of all, keep in mind this race benefits several charities. We ran for them - not for a t-shirt!
This was the second time I have run Mercedes. The first was the full marathon in 2007. That was my first marathon ever and I had a blast. Loved the course even with all the hills. I did the 1/2 this year. Did not enjoy the course as much as the previous one. Don't think I would have wanted to run it twice!
I have run for years and know how much work is required to put on a small race much less one as big as the Mercedes. I work as a volunteer often in local races. I am not sure how many years the MM has been run in Birmingham but I observed several kinks that I would have thought would have been worked out by now.
1.) I like the fact that I can walk to the starting line from the host hotel. My question is whether the Sheraton knew they were the "host" hotel. They seemed to be unaware that there was a race going on. They were not able to give informed information or directions.
2.) The bottleneck at the end of the race was unnecessary. Put the shirts in the bag. I missed the long sleeve shirt. The hat was small even for a female. I like the fact that the shirt was gender specific but I like the simpler logo of previous years. I like to get a shirt that I will actually wear again. With jeans no less.
3.) Will not do the Carbs for a Cause again. Not enough food and no vegetarian option. I don't mind giving a donation but I counted on that being my pre-race meal.
4.) Again, no vegetarian option at the post-race meal either (surely I was not the only runner there who eats vegetarian?!)
There was plenty of water and GU on the course for me.
I love a cool/cold weather race and Birmingham is convenient so I am sure I will be back.
This was my first 1/2 Marathon and it was an overall great experience. I wish the miles and running times were more clearly marked. It seemed as though it was marked for the full marathon but not the 1/2. When the miles were marked they were few and far between. I liked the fact that the finisher t-shirts were gender specific, but I would have preferred the process of handing them out to be more organized. They could have been in the bag or in a more spread out area. After running I didn't enjoy being packed in line waiting to get my shirt. Also, I think there should have been more port-o-lets at the start/finish line. The Auditorium lines were very long and we could only find two port-o-lets outside. The post race meal was somewhat of a let down. I understand the convenience of a bagged lunch, but more variety would have been appreciated. Many families/children attended and a kid firendly meal would have made for a more pleasant time. As I said, overall it was a great experience. The volunteers were helpful and nice and the course was challenging but not too difficult. I would consider running in the Mercedes 1/2 Marathon again.
This was my first half and I had a blast!!! Plenty of water stations, the course wasn't too hilly and the volunteers were wonderful. Great job!
The 2010 Mercedes was my first marathon. I'm thrilled that it was. The event was top-notch. Lots of water, gu, food, candy. Every mile had a huge sign and a clock to show my time. I also thought there were plenty of portapotties too. The hills weren't as bad as I'd been told. Thanks for flattening the course out a bit! I don't plan on ever running another marathon but I'll be back for the Mercedes Half in the future. I had a great experience.
I would like to note that I did volunteer to help. When I arrived at my scheduled time (which I drove 45 min for) I checked in and noone knew where I was to go, etc. I went to the area where I
had volunteered for and everyone looked at me like I was crazy or something. I explained that I had volunteered for this time and they told me they did not need my help and sent me to another area
where I was also not needed - just seemed to be in the way. I stayed for a while, but left. I was very disappointed in this. I am new to the area and was trying to be helpful and hopefully meet some new people. I did run the half and it was ok, but very disorganized. Everyone on the race course was great - I do not think I would volunteer again just because I felt out of place and not everyone was overly friendly. I also ran the 5K Sat morning and it was fun. I did have someone from the running club approach me and invite me to join - however - if the volunteers at the packet pick up were any
indication of how I would be treated as a new member - I think I would decline.
This was my first marathon and it was a fantastic experience that I will remember forever!In my opinion,it was top notch from beginning to end.The weather,volunteers,expo and race direction was great!My only small complaint was I had rather had a cotton long sleeve race tee than the cap.But,I'll still wear it anyway.Great job guys and I'll see you next year!
This was my first 1/2 marathon and I had a great time. The course was runnable, but challenging to a newbie. Plenty of water stations. Weather turned out to be perfect. The only complaint was the organization for getting the finisher t-shirt. The congestion, and the fact that the women had to cross over the men's line to get out of the corral was poorly set up. But I will be back for sure....maybe for the full next year!?
It was my first marathon and a very memorable one. Everything was well organized and there were plenty of water, powerade and GU on the course. The drum band on the course was so cool as were all of the people along the route to support us. There was a nice setup afterwords that was accommodating for me and my family. The free beer has never tasted as good as it did after the race! Thanks to the organizers and volunteers for all of your help!!