Whether the goal is a PR, qualifying for Boston, completing that first marathon, or striving for a personal goal, RCM is the way to achieve it.
Marathon - The Rocket City Marathon has been a fixture for over 40 years in North Alabama. Enjoy a flat, Boston Marathon qualifying course.
Half Marathon - We are proud to announce the addition of a Half Marathon!
Kids Marathon - K-8th graders may become "marathoners" by logging 25.2 miles leading up to a final mile on race day that crosses the real finish line.
Distances in this event
7:00am Sat 14th Dec 2019
7:45am Sat 14th Dec 2019
Sat 14th Dec 2019
A chance to qualify for the Boston Marathon!
GENTLY ROLLING & FAST: Starting from the Von Braun Center and Big Spring Park, the course embarks on a tour of downtown Huntsville that includes large antebellum homes and the historic courthouse square before heading northeast to make a 10 mile loop through scenic residential streets and the historic districts of Old Town, Dallas Mill Village and Five Points. After sweeping past the VBC for the halfway point, the course heads out again making a loop through the southwest part of town that includes running beneath rockets and the space shuttle at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and meandering through the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. The course finishes inside the VBC Arena to a celebration with live music, food, and fun. There is a total elevation gain of about 700 feet.
Half the Marathon - run the back half of the marathon course. At 9am registered participants will merge onto the marathon course to run out to the Space and Rocket Center and Botanical Gardens with the marathoners before returning to the same exciting finish line inside the VBC!
The Rocket City Kids Marathon is a 10 -12 week running program that encourages kids to complete a full marathon (26.2 miles) by running approximately 2 miles per week. The final mile is completed in grand fashion as each child finishes their marathon distance in front of cheering fans, friends, and family at the Official Finish Line of the Rocket City Marathon. The goal of the Rocket City Kids Marathon, is to inspire and encourage children to be active on a regular basis through running and physical activity.
You must train for the last mile by running a total of 25.2 miles in 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile or mile increments between September and the end of December 8 to qualify for race day participation. The run log (available below) must be turned in at packet pickup in order to receive your bib. K-8th Grade children only.
Friday 13 Dec:
11am – 7pm … RCM Expo, FREE and Open to Public (Huntsville Museum of Art, Great Hall)
10:30am – 2pm … Post Race Party with TBD (Von Braun Center)
1:15pm … Awards & Celebration
Post race massage provided by Massage Envy
* all times are Central Standard
Race packets may be picked up at the Huntsville Museum of Art on Friday, December 13, from 11am to 9pm. Packets will contain race instructions, bib with timing chip, and this year’s RCM shirt. NOTE: Running with another runner’s number is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification. Do not exchange, sell, or give away race numbers. In addition, the race number must remain visible from the front during the race.
The Embassy Suites by Hilton is the host hotel for the Rocket City Marathon. Not only is this one of the nicest hotels in Huntsville, it offers unparalleled convenience - an enclosed walkway connects the hotel directly to the VBC Arena. Runners and family will be able to walk from the finish line inside the arena to the comfort of their room without having to go outside.
There are number of excellent parking facilities all within convenient walking distance of the Von Braun Complex. There are two (2) parking lots and five (5) parking garages all within easy walking distance of the Von Braun Center. Each will be listed below along with pertinent details including cost. We do encourage all runners (half-marathoners and kid’s marathoners included) to arrive at the VBC well before the start of the marathon.
VBC Parking - $10
The Von Braun Center has an underground parking garage that offers convenient access directly into the VBC complex. The entrance is directly across from Pollard off of Clinton Ave. Drive past Lot V and down the ramp.
Garage M - $5
The entrance to Garage M on race morning will be located on Church Street, but runners will be able to walk out of the garage onto Monroe and enter the VBC complex.
Lot V - $5
The entrance to Lot V is off of Clinton Ave directly across from Pollard. Runners will be able to use the North Hall entrance to gain access to the VBC complex.
Lot K - Free
Lot K is a large, gravel parking area with an entrance off of Clinton. It’s a short walk to the North Hall to gain access to the VBC complex.
Garage B - Free
Garage B is a multi-level parking facility conveniently located on the corner of Church and Williams; however, the entrance is on Fountain Circle.
Garage A - Free
Garage A is multi-level parking facility located on Fountain Circle with the entrance on Gates.
Garage O - Free
Garage O is a multi-level parking facility located on Clinton Ave one block off the square in downtown Huntsville. While this may be a slightly farther walk than the other garages or lots, it is also incredibly convenient for downtown activities following the races.
Comfortable running gear
Cheer in person, join or form a spirit team, or follow from your smart phone.
Spectators can easily view the start of the race, watch the runners pass at the halfway mark, and settle in to comfortable seats inside the VBC to watch the remainder of the event on the big screen. For those watching or running, having the finish line inside an arena full of cheerleaders where everyone has a good view makes for one of the most exciting finishes around. For the more adventurous who wish to drive around, a detailed map highlighting the course and optimal viewing sites will be provided.
It takes an army of volunteers to put on the Rocket City Marathon, consider helping out!
Packet pickup for all races is held at Huntsville Museum of Art in conjunction with a runner’s expo. A list of vendors for the expo is coming soon.
Does the Marathon have pace groups?
Yes, This year we have pace teams.
What is NOT allowed on the course?
Baby joggers, in-line skates, bicycles, unauthorized vehicles and unregistered runners are prohibited on the course. No pets or smoking on the course PLEASE! Any participant breaking one of these rules will be removed from the course, disqualified and will not receive finisher’s amenities. These rules are due to our insurance policy and are set by the HTC Board of Directors and are for your safety and the safety of the hundreds of other runners on the course. Check out our rules page for more information. The use of headphones is STRONGLY discouraged.
This was a very well organized and run marathon. Other big marathons in Alabama could learn from Rocket City. Friendly volunteers and an excellent post race venue with many food choices as well as beverages.
This race was a blast. This was my first marathon, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Despite the rain and the cold, the course was filled with spectators cheering on the racers! The race staff was excellent. The pace teams were friendly and supportive. The medical team at the end of the race was spectacular. I had a small injury, and they provided expert care! Quick, professional, and caring. The medical support staff were incredible!This race was fantastic!
I do not think having the half marathon event worked well. I have talked to other people who did the race, and the feeling seemed to be consistent. For people in the front of the pack, they had to deal with not knowing whether someone racing near them was competing in the same race or not. For people in the middle of the pack (like me), I spent mile 13.1-18 weaving through endless half marathon walkers, and it became very very frustrating. I understand the motivation for having this, but I feel it did not work well. Otherwise, thank you for yet another wonderful weekend!!! :) Will always be my favorite race.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Rocket City Marathon. I think the best part was it's just that...a marathon. There isn't a half or 10k at the same time which seems kind of rare. My understanding is the course changed a few years ago so I can't compare, but this one was nice. The start/finish at the Von Braun Center was awesome. It was about 24 degrees race morning and having a place to stay warm was a great perk! Plus indoor bathrooms, always a benefit. The finish line is actually inside the arena which lets friends and family have a great (warm) place to watch their loved ones cross the line. The rest of the course wasn't bad. You run through some very pretty neighborhoods and also some pretty typical city/suburban scenery. The highlight is the space and rocket center followed by the botanical gardens which is scenic and also near the end, so it's something to look forward to. There are some rolling hills but I thought elevation-wise it was a nice course.There weren't a ton of people on the route, but that may have been partly due to the cold temps. There were a few bands and spirit teams, volunteers at 13 aid stations, and of course traffic control. All of those folks were great and supportive, standing out in the cold for us. Post-race they actually printed out finisher certificates on the spot which I haven't seen before but appreciated! The medal was great, a 40th anniversary celebration of the race. The shirt was short-sleeved tech and not bad. They had lots of finisher food, chocolate milk, bagels (with things to spread on them!), grapes, and several other items. The concession area was also open for friends and family (or if you craved jalapeño poppers yourself!). Overall I thought it was great race. Huntsville is a nice town with several hotel and restaurant options, including some within easy walking distance of the start/finish (no rental car needed!). It was well organized and supported, and all of that showed during the race. It's a great option for Alabama! PS - free race photos!!
A wonderful, fairly low-key marathon with great community spirit. The pre-race dinner was held at the Huntsville Space & Rocket Center, a remarkable museum, where you eat under a Saturn V rocket (truly the highlight of the race weekend). Perhaps it is cliche to comment about southern hospitality, but the people of Huntsville are very welcoming and rightfully proud of their marathon. My only "knock" on the race is the humdrum course. Except for a nice 2-mile spur near the space center (miles 18-20), the race was largely a zig-zag through a series of middle-class neighborhoods.
The 2014 version of the Rocket City Marathon brought a new location for the start/finish, a new course, and a larger Expo. The start and finish were at the Von Braun Civic Center in downtown Huntsville which is located by several close hotels, one right next door. The finish of the marathon took the runners into the arena, finishing inside where friends and family could watch from the stands. The course itself is two "loops" such that the half-way point runs right by the Civic Center, making this a nice course for spectators to see the runners at multiple points. The second half runs through the Space and Rocket Center where you get to run by a Saturn V full size replica and around/underneath a full size Space Shuttle sitting on top of the external tank and rockets. Just after the Space and Rocket Center, the course runs through the Botanical Gardens where Christmas lights and decorations are set up for the Galaxy of Lights (too bad it isn't dark when we run through here!). The course through here has rolling hills, but nothing bad, and the rest of the course is relatively flat, but not as flat as the old course used to be. Personally, I prefer the new course much more than the old. As for the Expo, it was expanded this year, due to being held in one of the large halls in the Civic Center from less than 10 vendors in past years to 75+ vendors at the Health and Fitness Expo. The Expo included a video taking runners through the course, along with speakers at various points describing the course and answering questions. The pre-race pasta dinner was held at the Space and Rocket Center, where those dining got to sit beneath a Saturn V rocket that hangs from the ceiling along the length of the Davidson Center. After the finish of the marathon in the arena, the finishers received a very nice medal and then were treated to some wonderful food and drinks, including some awesome, warm vegetable soup! For the spectators, the snack bar was open the entire morning as well as the bar located in the lobby! The race t-shirt was a SS tech shirt of good quality with "Finisher" shirts also being sold in the lobby for those that chose to buy one. There was ample parking around the downtown area, both paid parking and free parking. All in all, a very nice race that had increased in size this year to close to 2000 runners. This increase was due to the venue for the start/finish being a larger venue and allowing for larger crowds. I only see this race and expo getting better and bigger now that they have the new location and new course. Highly recommended for a fast course and a great time. Picture is of this year's finisher medal.
This was my first marathon. The course was nice, but has changed to be even better. It now takes you through all the sites that Huntsville is known for, including the Space & Rocket Center. The finish is now inside the Von Braun Center Arena, which is a great finishing touch. The course is not too hilly. Not all the streets are closed to traffic, but they generally have cones to mark off lanes for the runners.This is a marathon only event with about 1,000 - 1,200 runners.I also worked as a finish line volunteer for the 2016 race. The medals were spinners this year, which were quite cool.Parking is no problem. You will be able to park within a few blocks. The weather is generally cool. The 2013 edition that I ran was about 50 degrees. Rain cleared up just before the run,so it was a little humid. I overdressed so I was hot by the end.2016 was quite cool, about 30 degrees at the start. But there was little wind and sunny skies, so it was not too bad.All-in-all, it is a great destination race and you will be treated to warm southern hospitality.
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