Half-Marathon FAQ

Half-Marathon FAQ

General Information

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1. What do I get for my entry fee?

2. Are there participant limits? 

3. How do I register for the races?

4. How much does the race cost?

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

6. Will I receive a confirmation email?

7. How close are the host hotels to the race activities?

8. How far are the host hotels from the Birmingham International Airport?

9. What is the Expo?

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

11. How do I get my race packet?

12. Can I pick my race packet up on race morning, Sunday the 13th?

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

14. What is in my race packet?

15. What happens if I lose my race bib with timing device attached during the race?

16. Where can we park for the races?

17. Where does the race start and finish?

18. Can I register on race day?

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

20. What are the event start times?

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

22. Is there a Pasta Dinner?

23. How do I get a refund if I cannot attend and do you offer Event Insurance? 

24. What is NOT allowed on the course?

25. Is there a "Bag Check" available?

26. What if I lose something at the race?

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

28. What does my registration fee go to?

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

30. What time should I arrive on race morning?

31. Is there a time limit? Why?

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

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

34. What are the age groups for awards?

35. Do you have a wheelchair division?

36. Will there be an awards ceremony?

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

1. What do I get for my entry fee?
You will receive a race bag with goodies including vendor items such as gloves and other fun 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-Benz "hood ornament" medal and a finisher's item TBD. We will also have fruit, water and Body Armor Sports Drink waiting for you. Just a few short steps away from the finish line is our Post Race Party with Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q and all the beer you desire. We may even have some post race massages going on!
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2. Are there participant limits?

Yes! We will close the half marathon at 3500 runners.
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3. How do I register for the races?
Go to our home page on our website and click the "Register Here" link.  That will take you to our registration hosts website, runsignup.org.  You can also register at the Expo on Friday and Saturday of race weekend. THERE IS NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION!!!!
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4. How much does the race cost?

Online registration March 1 - September 7, 2021...........................................$75

Online registration September 8, - January 3, 2022.......................................$95

Online registration January 4 – February 10, 2022……....…................….…..$105

Race Weekend Expo and Online Registration February 11-12.......................$115
 
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5. How do I know for sure if I am registered?
On our website home page, click on  Confirm Your Registration
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6. 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 [email protected] to your email address book before you register. 
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7. How close are the hotels to the race activities?
Our host hotels are the Birmingham Sheraton and Westin Birmingham.  They're within walking distance of all the race weekend activites including the Start/Finish lines, Race Expo and the Post Race Party.     
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8. How far are the host hotels from the Birmingham International Airport?
The Birmingham Sheraton and the Westin Birmingham are located within a 10 minute drive from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport
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9. What is the Expo?
The Race Expo and Packet Pickup is held on Friday and Saturday, February 11-12. This is where you’ll come to pick up your race packet, visit the 40 vendors, enjoy the beer garden, purchase Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend 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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10. Where is the Expo and what are the hours?
The Expo will be held at Boutwell Auditorium, 1930 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham, AL  35203.  The hours are Friday, February 11 from 12:00 Noon - 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 12 from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
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11. 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 will need to present your photo ID and race bib number. (A copy of your confirmation email is a good choice too in case a registration problem has occurred.) Our timer will begin assigning race numbers in the first of January and at that time you can find your number by going to our website home page and click on Confirm Your Registration.  Also, during race week, you’ll receive an email from our timers with your bib number in it. The race packet will have your race number and timing device attached. You will not be allowed on the course Sunday morning without your race bib. THERE IS NO RACE DAY PACKET PICK UP!!
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12. Can I pick my race packet up on race morning, Sunday the 13th?
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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13. Can someone else pick up my packet for me?
Yes, someone else can pick up your packet, but you're going to miss all the Race Expo fun. They must bring your race bib number, copy of photo ID and confirmation email in case a registration problem has occurred then we'll have proof of your registration. Before your person picks up your packet, they must fill out our mulitple packet pick up form. These forms will be available at Expo on the stage in the pickup area.  This form must be presented at the proper pickup window. 
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14. 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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15. What happens if I lose my race bib that has my timing device on it during the race?
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. They'll be located in their "BestTimes" tent near the post race party or you can send them an email after the race to [email protected]
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16. Where can we park for the races?
Free street parking is always available, but you'll have to find your own spaces. So for your convenience we have partnered with the parking app, Clutch! to assist you with parking. You can reserve and pay for your space in advance. Super easy! For additional parking options, try this website - www.bhamparking.com - for a map of all parking decks available in downtown Birmingham. Again, there is some street parking around the facilities, but please make sure that you don’t park anywhere on the course on Sunday.
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17. Where does the race start and finish?
The race starts and finishes at Linn Park directly across the street from Boutwell Auditorium. 
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18. Can I register on race day?
No. There is no race day registration!
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19. Can I switch from the Marathon to the Half Marathon or from the Half Marathon to the Marathon?
Yes.  You will need to contact our office to make the switch. Contact us at [email protected] . 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. After February 6, you will need to make changes at our Expo where you will be charged a service fee. Please make all changes BEFORE the Expo!
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20. 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-Benz 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-Benz Marathon - 7:03 a.m.
Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon - 7:03 a.m.
Mercedes-Benz Marathon 5 Person Relay - 7:03 a.m.


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21. What sports drinks and gels will be available on the course?
We will be serving BodyArmor 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. (Flavors to be determined.)
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22. 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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23. How do I get a refund if I cannot attend and do you offer Event Insurance?
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.  Event insurance is offered, but is only available at the time of registration. Thank you for understanding.
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24. What is NOT allowed on the course?
Baby joggers/strollers, 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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25. Is there a "Bag Check" available?
Bag check is available for all participants who want to leave their clothing or other non valuable items in a secure, checked area during the race. Bag check is located on the east 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 1:30 p.m. All items not picked up will be donated to a local homeless shelter.  Please know that our volunteers and staff can not be held responsible for any valuables left in your bag. 
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26. What if I lose something at the race?
Lost and Found will be at 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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27. Why haven’t I received a confirmation email?
In most cases the culprit is your spam filter that blocks our emails. Please add [email protected] to your email address book.
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28. What does my registration fee go to?
Registration fees help cover the operating cost of the event including your shirt, medal, course amenities, course set up crew, post race party entertainment, timers, etc. Race proceeds benefit our official local charity,  The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs.  The families and children of The Bell Center thank you for participating. 
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29. 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 or snowing. The race will only be cancelled/delayed if weather conditions pose imminent danger to our participants. In 19 years, this has never happened! Check out www.myfoxal.com for race weekend weather info.
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30. What time should I arrive on race morning?
We recommend arriving no later than 6:00 a.m. especially if you have not secured your spot with Clutch! 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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31. Is there a time limit? Why?
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/walking the half you will need to keep an 18:30 minute per mile pace. Due to insurance regulations, we DO NOT allow early starts to any of our races. 
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32. 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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33. 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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34. 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, 75-79, 80 and over. We also have one wheelchair division for all ages in the half marathon only.
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35. Do you have a wheelchair division?
We only have a wheelchair division in our half marathon event. During your registration process, you must select the wheelchair division or you will not be registered correctly. This event is for racing wheelchairs only. No hand cycles are allowed.
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36. Will there be an awards ceremony?
Yes. The awards ceremony for the Half Marathon will take place between 11:00-11:30 AM at Boutwell Auditorium. Half Marathon Overall winners will be anounced.  Age group winners will be posted and you can pick up your award during this time at the stage area. 

If you think you're a contender for an award, please adjust your travel plans accordingly for our awards presentation.  If that isn't possible, we'll be happy to mail your award. Shipping cost is $12.  Please contact us at [email protected]  If you're local, the awards will be at the Homewood Trak Shak store beginning post race Wednesday and will remain there for two weeks. 
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37. 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
  • Avondale Brewery
  • Marconi Park
  • 5 Points South district at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q restaurant
  • Final stretch on the sidewalks of 1st Ave., S. 

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