I have worked as a volunteer for this race before, but this was my first time running the half. I liked the course and picked it because it mirrors a spring marathon I am training for. The water stations were plentiful and well staffed. Like the other comments before, the shirt distribution at the end needs to be better organized to keep people moving. The post-race party was also well organized and the food was good. Overall I thought it was a good course and well run event. I expect to run this event again.
This was my first marathon. I did the half with my guide and it was a lot of fun! I will probably do it again! The starting gate was a little crowded, but other than that everything seemed well organized. I beat my personal time goal as well!
Great race, have done it almost every year. Great race, wonderful organisation. Agree that pacing runners were not as visible as past year but they were out there. Two suggestions: Mark the first relay exchange more clearly, and negotiate a more reasonable parking fee than $8 for the parking lot! And why don't we listen to the National Anthem at the start?
What a great race! I love the new course...I ran this race two years ago in 2008 and some of the hills back then were GRUELING. I didn't think they were nearly that bad this year - at least a lot more gradual. The beginning was through a very industrial area, so not especially scenic, and some of the pavement was potholed and sketchy, so you had to watch your footing, but at least that part was in the beginning. But the part of the run through the Highland area was really pretty and it was very well supported - lots of spectators. Then downhill and flat after mile 11 or so, which is awesome. I ran my fastest marathon ever and I had a great time!
First half marathon and had a great race. Good course, good crowds and overall good atmosphere.
However, the starting corral was EXTREMELY chaotic with people climbing the fencing to get into the corrals and into position. There should have been better markings for the pace groups so the 6min/milers would not have been back with the 9min/milers. This caused quite the confusion at the beginning.
Also, the ladies handing out the medals should have been directing us down the road toward boutwell, where several tents on both sides could have been handing out shirts instead of in linn park. The queue there in the park was terrible with people pushing and hearding through the lines to get shirts and get out of the queue.
Very counter productive to walking and preventing cramping.
Otherwise, the event was very good!
This was my first Half-Marathon and I loved it! I thought the course was great and the enthusiasm of the spectators blew me away. Having so many spectators kept spirits up the entire way! I thought the water/fueling stations were great and I was always able to get what I needed. The race was very well organized and staffed. My only complaint was getting the t-shirts at the finish. I finished the half at around the 2 hour mark, which was very dense with other finishers. We were all crammed into the area at Linn park on wobbly legs trying to get a shirt. It should have been more spread out in a different area. Just changing that single part of the event would have made a huge difference in the overall positiveness of the race. That said, my experience was fantastic and I hope to run another one soon!
3rd time to run the Mercedes and will run it again! Great course and lots of support from the people of Birmingham. However, I wasn't a fan of the hat. Way to small to fit most men. I would prefer to have two shirts again like years past. I thought moving the expo to the BJCC was a good idea. With the other comments on the finish corral I don't think there is much more you can do. It is hard to organize it much better because of the runners that just hang around (me included) after the finish to wait on friends or family. Definitely need to have starting corrals if the race is going to grow any larger. Love the medals!
I am so glad the Mercedes was my first half-marathon! Overall, very well organized except in the beginning when runners were trying to get situated into pacing groups. Lots of enthusiastic spectators along the way! Rest stops were adequately supplied. Course was flat for the most part and generally scenic except at the beginning where there were some rough roads to run on as well. At the finish line, the tents should have probably been set back a bit further to avoid commotion, but the people running them did a great job of moving everyone along quickly. Had a great time and can't wait to do it again next year!
My 9th Half, 1st mercedes. Kudos to the race organizers and volunteers! In Sum:
-It was easy to get to the start line,
-The course was well staffed and very well supplied,
-While there were a lot of people on the course, it felt low key and uncrowded,
-Much less difficult course than rumored
-The great weather was awesome in a year of very bad winter weather.
-The bling, the t-shirt and hat were all great
-The BBQ was the best (Yea, Jim and Nicks!).
I'll definitely do it again and recommend to those I run with looking for a great half.
Overall the race was enjoyable. However, at the end the lines for the t-shirts was a bit mumble-jumble. If we knew further back in line which direction to go (male/female) it might have flowed a little easier. Maybe the signs could have been on top of the tents instead of on the sides.
I LOVE IT! It's my first Mercedes Marathon. I ran a half last year. Thanks Lord I made a new PR of 4:02:49 in my 5 marathons in the 5 months! It's exciting to run Mercedes Marathon, well organized, a lot of beer, drinks and fruits but not much food - two bbq sandwiches would make it great! However, I was disaapointed at the massage line - it cut me out twice. After I left it opened again!! Hope it was not due to the "Yellow fever"!!! ;( The route was very challenge because when you ran the first loop (hafl marathon) you felt great and the second loop you would feel very "gray" - every hill will be a BIG Hill. I got cramping, twitching 'n blistering, 'n I almost stopped to quit after 14 miles ... and THANK Lord, He made me "joyfully" struggled through the rest of my run and a 13 minutes faster, new PR! - I ran the rest just like a "woody dummy", twirling forward, backward, side left 'n side right, face up 'n face down ... I will run it again next year IF I could. Bravo! X:D
This course was fairly easy with slight elevations. I got my PR yesterday in this race and qualified for the Boston Marathon. Shirts were awesome, good expo, and the event was well organized. Criticisims-The mile markers were off by approximately .25, but the overall distance was still 26 miles. Also, I won my age group but this race doesnt give out trophies.
Very enjoyable, the hills were much better than two years ago! My time was better. Food and liquid refreshments were all great! Taking my bling to work always makes everyone want to run the next year!!
Birmingham was my 42nd marathon and my 17th state.
*Easy logistics - Fly to Birmingham. Short taxi/shuttle to Hotel Room.
*Start line and expo within walking distance of host hotel
*Sheraton - host hotel - o.k. place - decent rates
*People - Met only very nice people in the fine state of Alabama
*Medal - very cool
*Shirts - Like that you have to finish to get one - Ugliest thing that I have ever seen. Also, getting tired of the "technical" shirt phase. Bring back cotton. Nice touch having a hat provided.
*The kids "marathon" is one of the coolest trends that I have seen in running today. Getting kids outside and moving is always a great thing. The look on the faces of these kids was unbelievable.
*Course - Although not a big fan of double-looped courses, this wasn't that bad. No scenic highlights whatsoever. Those complaining of the "hills" in the course have never seen a real hill. Great markings for marathon/half course splits.
*Water stations - Don't think that I have ever seen so many water opportunities. No compaints from anyone.
*Volunteers - Always appreciated in every race. They were outstanding. I always like when the race provides shirts to the volunteers. Don't know why, but it makes a 'uniformed' station look like a party stop. Pluse, it gets more people volunteering.
*No energy anywhere - Just seemed like everyone showed up and just ran
*No energy at the host hotel. You could hardly tell they were involved in the race.
*Pasta dinner was nearly a mile from the host hotel - Have to take logistical points off for that. They attempted three seatings in three hours. I was in the first seating and it was anarchy. Serving 200 people in an hour is tricky. Attempting to pull that off with a few people scooping food onto a place doesn't make it happen.
*Fan support nonexistent
*Port-a-Poties hard to find. The Boutrel Center was open, barely. Too many people crowded into a small area.
*As with many races - Too many slow runners and walkers hanging out in start locations where they shouldn't be.
*Relays - Not necessarily a reflection on Birmingham, but overall trend. I applaud getting more people out there exercising and I don't want to sound like some elitist. But, it is really discouraging for us marathoners to get passed in the back end of a marathon by some young whipper-snapper.
Overall: I would give it an overall ranking of 7, out of 10. Good local race that some 50-staters may participate, but don't see it growing or becoming a destination run without significant improvements.
This was an AWESOME race - Super flat!!! Great time of the year so it was not hot. Great food, easy to get to everything and my family had a great time being spectators because they could make it back and forth from various locations to see me.
The shirts in the packet would have made it easier but the Expo was easy in/easy out so that is a plus!! And having not only great food and drinks for the racers but coffee etc to purchase after outside of the race made it awesome for family.
My 10 year old volunteers for the ATL Marathon but next to that said this was super fun!!
And the carbs for a cause the night before was a great family event and the BBQ after (while I took a pass on eating meat sandwiches) was a nice after party.