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42196 Views 174 Replies Latest reply: Mar 25, 2010 11:58 AM by Gracie Johnsey Go to original post 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 ... 12 Previous Next
  • JimDorris Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 1, 2008

    Great event overall.  This is my third time to run this event and it is always well planned and well staffed.  My main complaint for this year is the finish area.  Having to come to an abrupt stop then wait in the crowd to get the finisher shirt was tough.  But thanks for the great after party - lots of fun.

  • DKS1965 Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 7, 2007

    The Good:  Package pickup was run very well.  The expo, while small, was more than adequate.  Event parking was ample with plenty of free spaces to be had within a couple of blocks from the starting line.  The aid stations were plentiful and the volunteers did a great job.  Although I wouldn't call this a "fast" course, it is fairly easy.  The post-race t-shirt pickup was fairly efficient.  The post-race runners food/beverage area (inside an auditorium) was very nice, offering access to indoor restrooms, plentiful seating, and a large projection of the race streaming from a local TV affiliate.


    The bad:  Double loop course for full-marathon is a real deal-breaker.  Couple that with the fact that the course winds through some really unsavory parts of downtown and some low-rent neighborhoods and you've got an event that doesn't do the city justice.  Some roads on the course went through industrial sections and were not in good repair. 

    Birmingham has much nicer areas to showcase, and it's a real shame that the city and race organizers haven't put together a course that will both interest more folks and reflect more favorably on the city. 


    Bottom line:  If you live within 100 miles and just want to run a marathon, then this is an option.  If you're looking for an extravagant race (e.g. Rock 'n Roll series), a scenic event, or a fast Boston qualifier, I recommend you look elsewhere.  

  • Pup9999 Rookie 1 posts since
    May 6, 2008

    The first half of the course is rough.  The roads are really bad and there are several pot holes.  The course gets a lot better (but includes a long hill) around mile 6 and is really cool from there in to the finish.  After the finish, the area to get your medal, refreshments and the finishers shirt is way too crowded.  I think they could spread everything out and it would be much more comfortable.  I thought the medal was one of the best I have received and overall I liked the race.  I thought crowd support and aid stations were great.


  • Clell Rookie 1 posts since
    Dec 15, 2008

    I concur with the poster DKS1965: The course should highlight the better areas of town. The roads chosen should be smoother. The last 1/2 is much better than the first. The double loop for marathoners is a bummer. The finish area is too crowded. (I might add that the sharp turns at the finish are awkward.) But please don't go back to the extreme hills!!


    The Good: The very nice people who help make it happen. The event overall is great. And very nice volunteers. (did I already say that?)

  • Beth Uhlman Rookie 1 posts since
    Jan 17, 2010

    Well organized from the standpoint of Expo and communication before the race about details. 


    Disappointed in the start of the race - no  music - no National Anthem - REALLY!!!!

    Need to start in waves - way to crowded to just say go!


    Finishing area needs help - no room to walk and stretch before being herded like cattle to get a finishers t-shirt. Really need to revisit that plan to help prevent cramping after running.  Great food and drinks at the finish but could hardly get it and relax at all in such a crowded small area.


    More signs to communicate where things were in the post race party is needed.


    Great water stations and plenty of them.  People were all very friendly. Thanks to all who volunteered to do this.


    Race packets need an upgrade.  Get ride of the hat (that only a child could wear) and replace it with a long sleeve t-shirt.  Finishers shirt being dry fit is great and should remain. Add a long sleeve t-shirt to the packet to be able to wear other than just a dry fit to workout in later.


    Course was okay.  The roads were really rough in several areas. I live in Birmingham and disappointed that is the area of our city the course choose to show our visitors.  Much pretty areas to be seen in our city.


    Jim-N-Nicks great but bring on the cheese biscuits.


  • Linda1955 Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 15, 2010

    Should have had one long sleeve shirt in pack and one at the finish line.  The hat is awful should be long sleeve T-shirt. Finish line way to bunched up not enough room to move around.  Had to stand in line way too long for finishers shirt. Some of the streets were in terrible condition to run on. 

  • TrishaG Rookie 2 posts since
    Jan 20, 2010

    The was my 1st half marathon but I very much enjoyed every minute of it, the only part I didn't like was at the starting line...was afraid we were going to get trampled but other than that, I felt everything was great!  Locals were very supportive, felt that it was awesome to have people at every mile marker with water and goo and anything else they had!  I LOVE IT!

  • Bisectional runner Rookie 2 posts since
    Oct 31, 2007

    The expo was rather chaotic--seemed to fluster folks to be responding to the kid's run going on that morning and yet helping people arriving for the marathon.  Didn't have record of my pasta tickets being paid for and had to search on a painfully slow laptop to find them.

    Pasta dinner was modest meal but I was touched deeply by the opportunity to dine with the kids who benefitted from the charitable funds raised by the event.  This, and the opportunity to watch them in the McWane Center, was the hightlight of the run!

    Aggree with needing corals at the start--and what about the national anthem (and a prayer, since we ran on Sunday?)

    Course truly showed what appeared to be a cross-section of Birmingham, from low-income neighborhoods with old mattresses on the curbs, to warehouse roads, to historic homes/churches/parks.   Aid stations were wonderful and kept a steady supply of needs, it seemed.

    Finish area, I aggree--congested and difficult to get a place to stretch/unwind.  Why they save the shirt till the end is still a mystery.   I didn't mind the hat (in the expo bag) and gloves, though I didn't really need one.


    Final concern--with all the weather going on in the midwest/south/northwest and reports of 5-8 inches coming in 2 days before the event, it was frustrating to not get a human to answer the phone on 2/12 ("we're at the Expo and will be back to phones on 2/15").  How could we know if they would be changing event plans due to weather (as Myrtle Beach actually DID cancel the marathon the same weekend)?


    Overall, I'd give this marathon (my 34th) a 6/10.

    DRFTYACF!  Todd

  • Corey McCombs Rookie 1 posts since
    Sep 8, 2009

    This was my first half marathon and I enjoyed every second of it from the start of the race to the finish. Can't wait for next year.

  • boobye Rookie 2 posts since
    Feb 7, 2010

    It was a wonderful event and a wonderful time. No complaints, all good. I enjoyed talking to the people at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training. That's something that's very near and dear to my heart because that has affected my family.

  • boobye Rookie 2 posts since
    Feb 7, 2010

    It was a wonderful event and a wonderful time. No complaints, all good. I enjoyed talking to the people at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training. That's something that's very near and dear to my heart because that has affected my family.

  • John Neiman Rookie 2 posts since
    Jan 30, 2008

    I will always run this race but am very concerned about the mileage issue.  I suspect that the problem stems from the fact that when we were running west on 4th ave north, organizers had us turn on 13th street.  The official course map has us turning on 12th, which means that the organizers gave us 2 "free" blocks on each lap.  Not good at all.

  • Paul@Lennox Rookie 1 posts since
    Dec 30, 2009

    Great race, the course is really good.  Crowds this year were much larger than in the past 9 years.  Did not like the shirt pickup location, should combine medal and shirt early and not worry about validation.  Overall, another great race.  It gets better each year.  I've run this race every year since 2001!

  • Mark D Ward Rookie 4 posts since
    Dec 25, 2007

    Race was great right till the end, then had to wait in a crowded line to get a tee shirt, to get out! Then the women all had to cut across cut there way through all the men to get out. This was a very poorly designed distribution.

  • christopher2262 Rookie 2 posts since
    Jun 25, 2009

    Great race, the course is really good. The weather was perfect.  Crowds this year were supportive. Did not like the shirt pickup location, should combine medal and shirt early and not worry about validation.  Maybe move expo and post-party to part of the BJCC to have more floor space.


    Still, all that said, I LOVED the run.  Thank you.

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