The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Kids Mercedes-Benz Marathon is an innovative five month endurance building running/walking program designed for children kindergarten (K5) through 5th grade. (Must be 5 years old on race day.)
Children will run the distance of a full marathon (26.2 miles) over the course of the five month program. To achieve this goal, kids must train for the last mile of their marathon by running a total of 25.2 miles in 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile or 1 mile increments between September 2022 through January 2023 to qualify for race day participation. There are NO official winners, but the event is timed so your child can chart their progress from the beginning of their training until race day.
Students run in PE class and/or with a parent and keep a running log sheet to track their progress. Mileage is based on adult supervision and the honor system. As each child completes the final mile on the actual marathon course on event day, they will receive a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Kids Mercedes-Benz Marathon Finisher’s Medal, a miniature version of the Mercedes-Benz Marathon finisher’s medal. The event will be held at Linn Park in downtown Birmingham
The race starts at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at Linn Park in downtown Birmingham. We begin with 5th graders at 11:00 a.m. and each grade after that goes in 10 minute increments. At the beginning of the race, the kids will gather in the park near the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama inflatable arch. As a COVID-19 precaution, extra time may be added between grades to allow more room for distancing between the participants as well as their families and other spectators.
**No Parents will be allowed to run with the following groups at these times from 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. Only coaches wearing official race t-shirts and coaches race bibs are allowed to run in any grade wave.
**11:00 a.m. – 5th graders (black t-shirts)
**11:10 a.m. – 4th graders (yellow t-shirts)
**11:20 a.m. – 3rd graders (green t-shirts)
**11:30 a.m. – 2nd graders (white t-shirts)
**11:40 a.m. – 1st graders (blue t-shirts)
**11:50 p.m. – Kindergarteners (red t-shirts)
**12:00 p.m. – Children Running with Parents – All grades K-5th
Parents will NOT be allowed to run with their child unless they previously purchased a parent bib when they registered their child. Parents will NOT be allowed to run with strollers or unregistered younger or older siblings during the event on race day. It is our goal to keep the children safe and keep anyone not registered off of the course for safety reasons.
This race is timed, but there are no winners and no awards will be given out. Your child will have a timing device on the back of their race bib so they can compare their timing progress from the beginning of their training in the fall until race day. Race times will be listed on our web site by bib number only; not by their name. The timing is done by chip time, not gun time which means it will be an accurate time from the starting pad to the finish line so there is no need to push your child to the front of the line. This event is to help children learn about a healthy lifestyle with a major component being exercise.
Our first priority is the safety of your children. Unless there is a weather danger to the children, we will still run. Cold weather will not stop the race nor will rain, unless there are storms associated with it. Snow has never been an issue. We suggest checking our website, facebook or twitter on race morning in the event the weather is bad. Be sure they wear their race shirt as the outer layer with their bib number attached to the shirt.
Now through November 15 – $25
LATE REGISTRATION November 16 – 30 – $40 online registration ONLY
You can also register by getting a registration form from your PE teacher and turning it in through him/her. (Not all schools participate as a school so this may not be an option.) Hard copy registration is $30.
If your school does not currently participate in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Kids Mercedes-Benz Marathon as a school/PE activity and you would like us to contact them about participation, please email [email protected].
There will be NO make-up date.
No check-in is required on race day.
YOUR CHILD MUST RUN THEIR FINAL MILE ON SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2023 ON THE MARATHON COURSE TO RECEIVE THEIR MEDAL*. As with any other sporting event, they must be there to finish their goal and receive their Bling!\
*If your child’s school participates remotely they will received their medal when they complete their mile at the school’s local event.
Your child’s safety is the most important priority for our race staff. We go to great measures to insure their safety and we appreciate everyone abiding by our rules to accomplish our mission.
- Each grade will have a designated colored T-shirt that your child must wear on race day. Your packet will also contain your child’s race number that MUST be worn on the front of their shirt. Attached to the race number is a PARENT CLAIM TAG. You must detach this and keep it with you so that you may identify and claim your child after the race. No child will be allowed to leave their designated fenced area unless the parent/guardian has the matching number on their claim tag. No IDs will be accepted in place of the race number. You MUST have the matching race number!
- A Birmingham Police officer will be stationed at every street intersection along with a course marshall so your child will not be able to make a turn that is not on the course. We also have members of the Montevallo University track team and other official “grandmother” runners who will be on the course running and walking with the children. They will insure that the runners stay on the correct course while offering them encouragement to finish their marathon goal. There will also be members ROTC members at every intersection and throughout the course keeping on eye on the kids.
- Please educate your child on how the actual race will take place and that they should not leave the finish line corrals for any reason except when their parent/guardian picks them up using the matching claim number from their race bib.
Kindergarten – Red
First Grade – Blue
Second Grade- White
Third Grade – Green
Fourth Grade – Gold
Fifth Grade – Black
All runners must keep track of their miles on a mileage log sheet. Your PE coach may provide your child with one or you can download one from our website. Your child can chart their miles in 0.25-mile increments and won’t have to feel pressured to run a complete mile when they begin their training. However, if your child is training with their school’s PE class they may structure it differently. Upon completion of 25.2 miles, each child/school must email, mail or fax their log sheet/s by January 31, 2023 to the Mercedes-Benz Marathon office. Our fax number is (205) 870-7729, email to [email protected] or mail to Mercedes-Benz Marathon, 1911 27th Avenue, South, Birmingham, AL 35209. This completed log sheet is required in order to complete the final mile on Saturday, February 11, 2023. To download a log sheet, click here!
Only parents who purchased a Parent Bib in advance will be allowed to run with their child on race day. Parents running with their child/children will run in the group designated for “Children Running with Parents” at 12:00 p.m. You may run with your child regardless of their grade, K-5th. That group will be the last group to run on Saturday and it will begin at approximately 12:00 pm. No parents will be allowed to run with the individual grades that run from 11:00 a.m. 11:50 a.m. Only PE coaches wearing official race t-shirts and coaches race bibs are allowed to run in any grade wave.
If you run with your child, your child will not be allowed to run in the individual grade groups. They must wait and run with you at 12:00 pm. No unregistered younger or older siblings are allowed to run on the course and no strollers are allowed due to safety precautions and insurance purposes. Please do not take a medal or a BodyArmor Sports Drink for yourself or a younger sibling. We only have enough for registered students in grades K-5th.
PE teachers with participating schools will pick up all their students’ race packets on Thursday, January 26th between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at our office/warehouse. The PE teachers will distribute those at school.
Individuals not participating with a school will need to pick up their packets at this time as well. Packets not picked up at this time can be picked up at the race Expo at Boutwell Auditorium on race weekend.
Schools participating virtually will arrange packet pickup and distribution with [email protected].