The Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama is becoming a destination for serious and weekend runners with great reviews of the urban double loop course.  The fact that it is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon attracts serious runners while the forgiving course makes it great for the first time marathon or half-marathon runner.

Nike Air Pegasus 32
World Soccer Shop is more familiar with the soccer fields of the area but for the 3rd consecutive year entered a relay team for the 26.2 mile run.  Cold temperatures, however, added a challenge for this year’s race.  Early morning temperatures were in the mid-20’s and never rose above 35 degrees during the race.

But the 5 runners for the Birmingham based soccer specialty store on Team Nike were prepared with a couple of layers of running gear, gloves provided by race sponsor the Trak Shak, and Nike Air Pegasus 32 running shoes provided by team sponsor Nike.

Nike Air Pegasus 32
The shoe’s single-mesh with Flywire upper provided a stable and comfortable fit while the Zoom unit in the heel along with cushion foam midsole made each step soft and responsive and the rubber waffle pattern outsole provide the needed traction so these ‘weekend runners’ could manage the course.

Nike Air Pegasus 32
The runners agreed that the lightweight shoes were perfect for the run.  They provided a snug fit and were easy to break-in (a couple of runners took them for their first run during their relay leg) and helped each runner over their finish line.

Team Nike at 2016 Mercedes Marathon in the Nike Air Pegasus 32 and official Nike jerseys
Staying true to the ‘beautiful game,’ the Team Nike was not only about the shoes as each runner wore an official club jersey of a Nike team.  The team represented the global reach of the Swoosh with the 2015/16 Paris Saint Germain third jersey, 2015/16 Inter Milan home jersey, 2015/16 AS Roma home jersey, 2015/16 Boca Juniors home jersey, and 2015/16 Atletico Madrid away jersey represented on the course.

The team turned in a solid showing with a 17th place finish in the Men’s Open division breaking the 4 hour mark with a time of 3:56:48.

The Mercedes Marathon, however, is about more than the time it takes to cross the finish line.  It is also raises funds and awareness for the Bell Center.  For 25 years, the Bell Center has provided therapy and special education for children born prematurely, or with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and a variety of other genetic disorders.  The Bellrunners cover the 13.1 or 26.2 miles wearing their red shirts with the picture of a child they are running for on the back.