After 21 years, final Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend to be held Feb. 10-12

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Aubie & Big Al at the The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Kids Mercedes-Benz Marathon in 2020 at Railroad Park (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

After 21 years, Birmingham will host its final Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend, presented by Birmingham Marathon, Inc. and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) on February 10-12, 2023.

Participants and spectators are invited to celebrate the final race weekend which includes:

For all the details –  www.mercedesmarathon.com

A Transformative Impact

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Mercedes-Benz Marathon on Highland Avenue in 2018. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

“With this being the finale of the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend of Events, we want to say how tremendously thankful we are of all the support we have received from Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, the community and countless sponsors throughout our more than two decades in existence,” said Valerie McLean Cuddy, Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend of Events Founder. “We hope this year will be the biggest and best race weekend we’ve ever put on and we can’t wait to give participants an incredible experience. We hope the future holds plans for other events to come that will benefit The Bell Center.”

The impact of the Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend of Events has been transformative here in the Magic City.  Here are the numbers:

  • More than 200,000 runners have participated
  • Local charities raised over $5 million
  • The annual events have provided more than $60 million in direct economic impact for the Greater Birmingham region
  • The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Kids Mercedes-Benz Marathon is the largest kids marathon in the country boasting 5,400 child participants at its peak

A Regional Signature Event – What will Fill the Void?

With the departure of this Regional Signature event, we reached out to a couple of local leaders to get their reaction.

For Homewood City Councilor Jennifer Andress, an avid runner who has run and completed the Mercedes-Benz Marathon, the news of the final race weekend is difficult.

“This is not just some road race on a random weekend. The impact that the Mercedes Marathon has had on  Birmingham and the North Central Alabama community for over 20 years is deep,” she said in a telephone interview with Bham Now.

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Mercedes-Benz Marathon on Highland Avenue in 2018. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

“People travel from out of state to race so they mark the Mercedes Marathon off their bucket list. The fundraising for the Bell Center, right here in Homewood is irreplaceable. I personally have been a Bell Runner for at least 10 years or more. The first marathon I ever ran was for a Bell Center kid. Both of my kids went to the Bell Center.” 

Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams, chair of the Economic Development Committee, hopes we can find additional events to fill the void.

“It is unfortunate to hear of the Mercedes Marathon’s departure in the Magic City after 21 years. I hope it is something that the city will continue to court in the years going forward, hopefully to bring it back to Birmingham or continue to look for additional events and opportunities that will fill its void.”

What’s Next

Everyone we talked to wants to make the final Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend the best ever. Register today to participate or circle the dates February 10-12 to make plans to watch at  Linn Park in downtown Birmingham.

Meanwhile, let’s hope city leaders can bring people together region wide to find a way to host a comparable race in the future..

“I  treasure the people that brought the race to the city and I’m all on board to work with them in any capacity for any future project they want to bring forward, ” added Andress

To register and to find out more information about each race, course maps or volunteer opportunities, visit www.mercedesmarathon.com. Follow the race on Facebook (@RunMercedes), Instagram (@run_mercedes) and Twitter (@run_mercedes) for special activities and events leading up to and during the race weekend.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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