Run in the Mercedes Marathon to support the Bell Center

bell center streamSupporters cheer on BellRunners and other race participants at the 2016 Mercedes Marathon.UAB faculty and staff can partner with the Bell Center, a local nonprofit that provides quality early intervention services for central Alabama children with a variety of special needs and diagnoses, by participating as a BellRunner in the annual Mercedes Marathon events Feb. 9-11.

For more than 15 years, the Mercedes Marathon, which encompasses a marathon, a half-marathon, a marathon relay, a 5K and a kids’ marathon, has chosen the Bell Center as its charitable recipient. After all the marathon’s expenses are paid, all proceeds from the event benefit the Bell Center, said Callahan Eye Hospital Senior Accountant Cari Jackson, a member of the Bell Center Junior Board, a BellRunner and UAB alumnae.

“The Bell Center wouldn’t function without the Mercedes Marathon,” she said.

Anyone can register for the individual races at mercedesmarathon.com, but registering as a BellRunner is something special, Jackson said. Each Mercedes Marathon participant who registers to be a BellRunner is paired with a Bell Center child and trains and raises funds in the name of that child. On race day, a photo of the Bell Center child is pinned to the back of the runner’s shirt.

Anyone can register for the individual races at mercedesmarathon.com, but registering as a BellRunner is something special. 

The organization promises “an amazing, life-changing experience” for those who dedicate hours of training and focus for a child at risk for developmental delay and share the race-day adventure by wearing their photo. “Our goal is to maximize the potential of developmentally delayed children,” the website says, but “we typically find that our runners experience so much more.”

With a goal of raising $100 per mile run or walked, BellRunners can run or walk the 5K, half-marathon, full marathon or form a five-person relay team. Discounted registration prices, which range from $35 for the 5K through $265 for a relay team, are available through Feb. 5. BellRunner registrants receive a promo code that makes signing up for the Mercedes Marathon races considerably cheaper than normal marathon registration — $75 for the marathon, half-marathon and relay and $50 for the 5K.

With each quarter-percentage reached toward the fundraising goal, a BellRunner will receive perks such as access to trainers and coaches, a BellRunner technical shirt or a discount at the Trak Shak in Homewood. Runners who reach 75 percent or more of the goal receive those perks plus access to the VIP area at the post-race party.

After Feb. 5, runners can register noon-7 p.m. Feb. 9 during St. Vincent’s Health System Health and Fitness Expo at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena or 6:30-7:30 a.m. Feb. 10 at Boutwell Auditorium.