BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - For the past 17 years, the Mercedes Marathon has started at Linn Park on 8th Avenue north, but because of the I-59/20 bridge construction, the race has temporarily moved to Railroad Park.
“We had to shift the start to railroad park and the finish there, the course is pretty much the same just shifted around,” said Executive Race Director Valerie Cuddy.
The 13.1 mile loop goes by UAB and weaves through Highlands like normal, but has been extended in the Avondale area.
“I love that it goes by some of the historical sites in Birmingham, like the Civil Rights Museum. I like going over to Avondale, that was a new change last year, but I liked it,” said runner Jeff Martinez.
The race expo, where runners can pick up their packets, will still be held at Boutwell Auditorium, but the post-race party after the marathon is now a street festival at Railroad Park.
“We are going to close in the parking garage if it’s cold so we can keep everyone warm, but we’re hoping for a pretty day," Cuddy added.
“It’s nice to change things up a bit. I think with it having an outdoor vibe if there’s good weather, I think it’s going to be awesome," said Martinez.
Due to the lack of parking near Railroad Park, Mercedes Marathon encourages all runners to carpool, Uber or download the ALGO app to help with detours and closed streets on race day.
“With all the construction, we’ve been told we have to change this for two years, so hopefully in two years when all the roads are new and pretty we’ll be back at City Hall,” Cuddy said.
Registration for the Mercedes Marathon closes on Feb. 5. You can watch live coverage of the 18th Mercedes Marathon only on WBRC, Sunday, Feb. 10.