BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s 21 and done for the Mercedes-Benz Marathon.
The weekend-long race event that’s been a staple for the running community for over two decades has officially come to an end.
Organizers, volunteers and participants alike said this marathon will always have a special place in their hearts.
Marathon chairperson Valerie Cuddy said it’s hard to say goodbye, but that the event has simply run its course.
“We’re going out with a bang,” Cuddy said. “It’s been something I can’t imagine my life could have achieved to be honest with you, and it’s just been a very incredible experience.”
Cuddy said the event has created and unbreakable bond among a wide variety of people.
“It just brings me so much joy to be outside in the nature enjoying a new state, working on crossing off a half marathon in all 50 states,” Natalie Uyeno said. “This is state number 29 today, and I get to explore new places and meet new people and eat lots of good food.”
Uyeno has a passion for running while spreading awareness as she has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
Full marathon participant, Mike Kiss, and his wife have a 10-year history with the race.
“It’s very special because we really always said we wanted to come back here, not only for the race, but to show our kids,” Kiss said. “Went to the civil rights museum, got to do some local things show them a great town.”
Since the beginning, the marathon weekend events have benefitted the Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs.
“I love what they’re doing, and I love what this race is doing for that center and the community,” Nichole Ross said, a half-marathon participant.
The event’s participants and organizers said it’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of an event that hosts a common love, not only for running, but for one another. Many said this race event weekend will be greatly missed.