It was time to go earn some Mercedes-Benz bling! Yes, the medal from the Superhero 5K was cute, but it wasn't what I came here for. I was ready to pound the pavement for 13.1 miles to earn my Mercedes-Benz bling!
Since the hotel was just a block or so away from the start, we were able to leave the hotel around 6:15 and still be over to the start area well before the race. Once we got there, we took a final trip to the INDOOR restrooms.
Momma K and I headed out about 15 minutes before the 7:03am start time. We made our way to the start line about 6:45. Just like the 5K, it was a self-seeded corral by pace.
We were on our way. With the marathon, half marathon, and relay runners all taking off together, there was a little bit of congestion in the first 1/3 of a mile or so but it wasn't too bad. We went off in one start, but I don't think the race deems needing "waves" to go off.
About a mile in, I ran into the dynamic duo of Kristin and Angela. Even though I could only hang with them for about half of a mile, it was great "running into" them!
We made our way through downtown Birmingham passing different parts of town including Railroad Park (which I really enjoyed), Regions Field, University of Alabama Birmingham campus, and several other parks and residential areas.
Around mile 6.5 I ran into a lovely couple holding a sing that said Run Brandi Run! UMMMMM, THAT'S ME (with my name spelled right)! Of course I had to stop and say hello and take a picture of "my" sign. They called me "the other Brandi" and I even saw them again around mile 12.
Along the way, I heard several other runners mention how hilly the course is. Coming from Atlanta, I felt like it was a pretty great course with some minor uphill grades (a few 'tough' hills) but also had some generous downhill sections. From mile 6-8 there was about a 125+ total climb, but nothing too crazy.
The course support was absolutely AMAZING! There were so many cheer stations along the way offering high-fives, cheers, music, candy, gummy bears, Gu, water, and even beer. Seriously, between the official aid stations and these awesome groups coming out, there was so much support and love along the way. There are very few races that I would rave about the course support, and this is totally one of them. Awesome support, great course, AMAZING race!
After finishing I collected my bling (the closest I will come to a Mercedes Benz), made my way through the finisher chute for some water and fruit, and collected my finisher item of a trunk organizer (perfect for all of my running/gym stuff). I joined Papa J at the finish line as we waited for Momma K to come through the finish line.
Your bib had a ticket attached for a Jim 'n Nick's BBQ lunch at the post race party which was pretty great. During the post race party, there was a special surprise guest for the awards....Alabama Football Head Coach, Nick Saban!
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and gather our belongings before heading home. It was seriously an awesome race and one that I would definitely recommend. The registration price was about average for a half marathon (maybe slightly higher if that), but between the quality of the race, the course support, and the amazing swag, you really can't beat it.
Thank you again to the amazing staff, volunteers, spectators, emergency personnel, and everyone else involved in making this race weekend possible. I give this race two thumbs up without a doubt and look forward to hopefully getting to return in 2018 for another awesome weekend!
I love to run and most importantly I love to have FUN while I run....I am the "Funner Runner"
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