Marathon FAQ

Marathon FAQ

General Information

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1. What do I get for my entry fee?

2. Is this race a Boston Qualifier?

3. Are there participant limits?

4. Does the Marathon have pace groups?

5. Do the races have corrals?

6. How do I register for the races?

7. How much does the race cost?

8. How do I know for sure if I am registered?

9. Will I receive a confirmation email?

10. How close is the Sheraton Birmingham and The Westin Birmingham (host hotels) to the race activities?

11. How far is the Sheraton Birmingham and The Westin Birmingham from the Birmingham International Airport?

12. What is the Expo?

13. Where is the Expo and what are the hours?

14. How do I get my race packet?

15. Can I pick my race packet up on race morning, Sunday the 11th?

16. Can someone else pick up my packet for me?

17. What is in my race packet?

18. What happens if I lose my timing device?

19. Where can we park for the races?

20. Where does the race start and finish?

21. Can I register on race day?

22. Can I switch from the Marathon to the Half Marathon or from the Half Marathon to the Marathon?

23. Do you take credit cards for registration at the Expo?

24. What are the event start times?

25. What sports drinks and gels will be available on the course?

26. Is there a Pasta Dinner?

27. How do I get a refund if I cannot attend?

28. What is NOT allowed on the course?

29. Is there a "Bag Check" available?

30. What if I lose something at the race?

31. Why haven’t I received a confirmation email?

32. What does my registration fee go to?

33. What will the weather be like on race day? What if it is raining or snowing?

34. What time should I arrive on race morning?

35. Is there a time limit? Why?

36. Where will the water stations, medical aid stations and portalets be located on the course?

37. Is chip time or gun time used to determine awards?

38. What are the age groups for awards?

39. Will there be an awards ceremony?

40. What are the best places to watch the race?

41. What is "The Split" and what is it all about?



1. What do I get for my entry fee?
First of all, you get to come to Birmingham, Alabama!!!! You will receive a race bag with goodies including vendor items such as gloves and other coporate amenities. You will also get a technical race shirt up front (short sleeved and gender specific). When you finish the race you will get a Mercedes "hood ornament" medal and a finisher's item TBD. We will also have fruit, water and PowerAde waiting for you. Just a few short steps away from the finish line is our Post Race Party with all the Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q and beer you desire. We may even have some post race massages going on!
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2. Is this race a Boston Qualifier?
Yes, the 2018 Mercedes Marathon is a certified course, therefore, a Boston Marathon qualifier.
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3. Are there participant limits?

Yes! We will close the full marathon at 1000 participants and the half will close at 4,000 runners. We will close the relay at 250 teams.
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4. Does the Marathon have pace groups?
Yes. Pacers will be provided for the following finishing times: 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, and 4:45 and 5:00. Send an email to coachalex@resoluterunning.com for more information.
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5. Do the races have corrals?
Corrals will be posted in the starting chute. We ask you to be considerate of others and line up according to your pace.
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6. How do I register for the races?
Go to www.mercedesmarathon.com and click on the Runsignup.com link or the "Registration" link. Online registration will close on February 5, 2018. After that, we will offer registration at the Expo on Friday and Saturday. THERE IS NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION!!!!
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7. How much does the race cost?

Mercedes Marathon - through August 31, 2017 - $75
through December 31, 2017 - $95
through February 5, 2018 - $105
Race Weekend Expo Registration - $130
   
Mercedes Half Marathon - through August 31, 2017 - $70
through December 31, 2017 - $90
through February 5, 2018 - $100
Race Weekend Expo Registration - $120


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8. How do I know for sure if I am registered?
Go to our website at www.mercedesmarathon.com and click on Check Entry.
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9. Will I receive a confirmation email?
Yes. Our online registration host, runsignup.com, will email you a confirmation after you register. If you don’t see it in your inbox, please check your spam or better yet add to your email address book before you register.
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10. How close is the Sheraton Birmingham and The Westin Birmingham (host hotels) to the race activities?
The Sheraton Birmingham and the Westin Birmingham are located a block from the Expo, Start/Finish line and the Post Race Party. Click on our travel page for additional information.
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11. How far is the Sheraton Birmingham and The Westin Birmingham from the Birmingham International Airport?
It is less than 5 miles away - a short 10 minute or so drive.
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12. What is the Expo?
The St. Vincent’s Health System Health and Fitness Expo and Packet Pickup is held on Friday and Saturday, February 9-10. This is where you’ll come to pick up your race packet, peruse the vendors, purchase Mercedes Marathon merchandise and in general have a good time while hanging out with other runners. You must pick up your race packet at the Expo. Your race packet contains your race bib and timing device which you must have to run!!
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13. Where is the Expo and what are the hours?
The Expo will be held at Boutwell Auditorium located at 1930 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35203. The hours are Friday, February 9th - 12:00 Noon - 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 10th - 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
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14. How do I get my race packet?
Race packets will not be mailed. You must come to the Expo in order to get your race packet and you'll need to present your confirmation email and race bib number. You can find your race bib number on our website beginning Monday of race week or you can look it up in our race bib books at the Expo. And if all goes well, you'll receive an email race week from our timers with your bib number in it. The race packet will have your race number and timing device and you will not be allowed on the course Sunday morning without these your race bib. THERE IS NO RACE DAY PACKET PICK UP!!
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15. Can I pick my race packet up on race morning, Sunday the 11th?
NO!! THERE WILL BE NO RACE DAY PACKET PICK UP! Please make sure you pick up your packet at the Expo on Friday or Saturday. There is also NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION!
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16. Can someone else pick up my packet for me?
Yes - we don’t have a problem with that, but you must present a copy of a photo Id of that person along with their confirmation email and race bib number. And make sure everyone is wearing the correct timing chip if you are picking up multiple packets. Don’t get the packets mixed up.
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17. What is in my race packet?
Your race bib with attached timing device and bag check tag along with other goodies from vendors and businesses will be in your race bag. You MUST have your race bib and timing device in order to run the race.
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18. What happens if I lose my timing device?
All participants will be issued timing devices that will be distributed during packet pickup. You will need to contact the timer and give them your approximate finishing time and they will be able to cross reference their manual timing.
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19. Where can we park for the races?
Try this website - www.bhamparking.com - for a map of all parking decks available in downtown Birmingham. There is some street parking around the facilities just make sure that you don’t park on the course on Sunday.
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20. Where does the race start and finish?
The race starts and finishes right in front of Boutwell Auditorium located at 1930 Reverend Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35203.
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21. Can I register on race day?
No! There is no race day registration!
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22. Can I switch from the Marathon to the Half Marathon or from the Half Marathon to the Marathon?
Yes. Go to the home page on our web site and click the box that reads "Confirm & Manage Registration." From here you can manage your races. If switching from the half to the full you must pay the difference in registration fees, but no fees will be returned for switching from the full to the half. No changes can be made through our web site after January 22. After that date, contact us at info@mercedesmarathon.com through February 5 to make the changes. Then after February 5, you will need to make changes at our Expo.
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23. Do you take credit cards for registration at the Expo?
Yes. We take Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. We will also accept checks and cash.
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24. What are the event start times?

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.
   
Sunday: Mercedes Marathon - 7:03 a.m.
Mercedes Half Marathon - 7:03 a.m.
Mercedes Marathon 5 Person Relay - 7:03 a.m.


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25. What sports drinks and gels will be available on the course?
We will be serving lemon-lime PowerAde at every water stop on the course. GU will be the gel of choice and will be available at miles 4,8,11,17,21,24. We will have two GU flavors TBD. One with caffeine and one without.
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26. Is there a Pasta Dinner?
No, we do not have an organized pasta dinner due to the low interest in past years. For dining options, please click here to visit the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau website.
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27. How do I get a refund if I cannot attend?
Due to the upfront nature of event costs, we have a uniform policy of no refunds, transfers or deferrals to a future year. We know that plans change and unexpected things come up, but we feel it is most fair to apply a uniform policy to all, instead of an arbitrary line of who merits a refund and who doesn't.  During your registration process, you must agree to this policy in order to participate in our event. Thank you for understanding.
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28. What is NOT allowed on the course?
Baby joggers, in-line skates, bicycles, unauthorized vehicles and unregistered runners are prohibited on the course. No pets or smoking on the course PLEASE! Any participant breaking one of these rules will be removed from the course, disqualified and will not receive finishers' amenities. These rules are mandated by our insurance policy and board of directors and are for your safety and the safety of the thousands of other runners on the course. 
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29. Is there a "Bag Check" available?
Bag check is available for all participants who want to leave their clothing or other items in a secure, checked area during the race. Bag check is located on the side entrance of Boutwell Auditorium between the Auditorium and the Birmingham Museum of Art. You will see volunteers ready to help you. All items must be contained in a CLEAR PLASTIC BAG. We will provide those if you don't have one. Bag Check will close promptly at 2 p.m. All items not picked up will be left with Boutwell Auditorium’s Lost and Found.
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30. What if I lose something at the race?
Lost and Found will be at the Boutwell Auditorium. You can check after the race or you can call Boutwell Auditorium at 205-254-2820. Items that are discarded along the race route will NOT be returned to the Lost and Found. They will be donated to local charities.
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31. Why haven’t I received a confirmation email?
In most cases the culprit is your spam filter that blocks our emails. Please add info@runsignup.com to your email address book.
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32. What does my registration fee go to?
Registration fees help cover the cost of the event expenses. Race proceeds help the children at The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs and other local children’s charities.
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33. What will the weather be like on race day? What if it is raining or snowing?
No predictions from us - just averages.
Normal High: 58
Normal Low: 35
Normal Average: 47
The race will take place if it is raining. The race will only be cancelled/delayed if weather conditions pose imminent danger to our participants. In 16 years, this has never happened! Check out www.myfoxal.com for race weekend weather info.
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34. What time should I arrive on race morning?
We recommend arriving at the Boutwell Auditorium no later than 6:00 a.m. This will give you plenty of time for parking, checking your belongings in at Bag Check, stretching and taking care of personal needs.
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35. Is there a time limit? Why?
The marathon time limit is 6 hours and the half marathon time limit is 4 hours. This is to ensure the safety of our runners and because the Birmingham Police will only close the roads for the course for a certain number of hours. If running the marathon make sure you stay in front of our "balloon lady" who keeps a 6 hour pace (13:44 minutes per mile). If running/walking the half you will need to keep an 18:30 minute per mile pace. The Marathon Relay follows the same rules as the Marathon.
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36. Where will the water stations, medical aid stations and portalets be located on the course?
Please see our course map located on our web site for all of these locations.
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37. Is chip time or gun time used to determine awards?
Gun time is used for the determination of cash awards. Chip time is used to determine age group awards.
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38. What are the age groups for awards?
Awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each of the following age divisions: 12-14 (half marathon only), 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, and 75 and over.
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39. Will there be an awards ceremony?
Yes. The awards ceremony for the half marathon will take place between 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. at the Post Race Party. The awards ceremony for the full marathon and 5 person relay will take place between 1:00 - 1:30 p.m. at the Post Race Party. We do not mail out awards after the race. Please make travel plans accordingly.
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40. What are the best places to watch the race?
The course is VERY spectator friendly as it is a double loop course for the full marathon. Some of the best places that we have found for watching are:

  • Civil Rights Institute: 520 16th Street North, 35203
  • McWane Center: 200 19th Street North, 35203
  • Regions Field: 1401 1st Ave., South 35233
  • Railroad Park: 1600 1st Ave., South 35233
  • University of Alabama, Birmingham Arena: 617 13th Street South
  • Western Supermarket: 2230 Highland Avenue, 35205
  • South Highland Presbyterian Church, Highland Avenue
  • Caldwell Park: Highland Avenue and Niazuma
  • Rushton Park
  • Avondale Park
  • Marconi Park
  • 5 Points South district at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q restaurant
  • Final stretch on the sidewalks of 20th St., North

 

41. What is "The Split" and what is is all about?
It is very important that you understand how the course has a "Split" so the full marathon and relay marathon participants can continue on the double loop course. The "Split" is at the intersection of 20th St., N. and 5th Ave., N. It will be well marked with turn directions and you should already be in the right hand lane of the street to make this turn. Beginning at approximately mile 11 at 32nd St, S. and 2nd Ave., S. the street lanes will be coned off separating the half marathon runners from the full and relay marathon runners. You should be in the RIGHT LANE for approximately 2 more miles you will turn at the "Split" and begin to run down 5th Ave., N. This turn at 5th Ave., N. will begin your double loop of the course. Please learn and know the course by checking out our course map on the home page.


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