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Race Dates

2018: TBD
2017: Saturday, December 9, 2017

Course Information

Profile: Mostly Flat
Type: Loop
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 45°F (7°C)
Average High: 55°F (12°C)
Average Low: 35° F (1°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 98.58
Course Score: 98.58

Race Size

2018: No Results
2017: 898 Finishers
2016: 1,028 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: N/A
2017: 16.7%
2016: 12.9%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

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Course Description

The Rocket City Marathon course is mostly flat with some small rolling hills.

Marathon Rankings

The Rocket City Marathon was the 91st largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 86th largest in 2016.

Last year 16.7% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 12.9% of runners qualified for Boston in 2016.

This gives the Rocket City Marathon the 86th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 120th highest percentage in 2016.

Its Course Score of 98.58 ranks it as the 261st fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 2nd fastest course in Alabama.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are within the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Rocket City Marathon a PR Score of 98.58. This PR Score ranks it as the 200th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 2nd fastest in Alabama.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 721 feet (219m)
Min Elevation: 596 feet (181m)


Recent Rocket City Marathon Reviews

4.7 Stars from 7 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2016 Rocket City Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


In 2016 it was exceptionally cold (I think 24 degrees at the start). This was not typical for this race, but running a marathon in mid-December in Northern Alabama, you should be aware of this possibility. The race organizers did the best they could because the start is in front of a large convention center (I never lined up to start, I just ran out of the convention center when the gun went off) and the finish is inside the convention center. Water stations were spaced in a strange way (although in freezing temperatures it didn't matter that much) but there were 13 on the course and there were large cups of water and Gatorade and there was GU available. My favorite part of the race was that there were no half marathoners. Everyone around me was paced pretty well and it wasn't over-crowded. The course had hills but it wasn't bad at all. Great support from the city.

Race Tips

There was no packet pick up on race day in 2016 although the expo closed at 9 so plan accordingly.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Don't pay for parking, ask where you should park when you go to the expo.

review of 2016 Rocket City Marathon.   

3 / 5 Stars


This was my third marathon and I did really enjoy the smaller size. That being said, the crowds were extremely sparce, the aid stations were too far apart, and the finish was a bit of a let down. Finishing inside was great (it was 22 degrees outside), but the lack of hearing a crowd at the finish line really hurts your motivation on the final kick. One of the better finish line dining selections that I have seen. Tons of selection (sandwiches, drinks, fruit, soup, ice cream, etc) and tons of people willing to serve. The metal is pretty nice as well.

Race Tips

The biggest issue with this race was that this certified course actually ran 26.5 miles (reported from multiple runners the next morning in the hotel and my garmin). So BQers beware, plan for an extra couple of minutes of padding or you will not make the cut. The normal 2.5 minute cushion is 4.5 minutes here.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Stayed at the Springhill Suites (very nice) and walking distance.

review of 2016 Rocket City Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Great race for first time marathoners! It was exceptionally cold (wind chill of 18) but 24 degrees. There were plenty of hydration/medical stations but I agree, they were spaced weirdly. GU gels were available also. It was mostly flat, but those small hills around mile 15/16 felt like big hills lol. They were rolling hills though. Loved the fact that we could stand inside the convention center before the race so that we didn't freeze. Finishing inside the convention center was awesome! Besides the medal we got a finishers hat and a nice certificate. Race photos were plentiful and FREE. Post race refreshments included bananas, grapes, ice cream, bagles, an assortment of breads, peanut butter, chocolate milk, and hot soup. They even gave you a bag for your goodies. Plenty of port-a potties at the race and good crowd support. 5 starts for this race!

Race Tips

My pace group was a little faster than they should have been, but overall the race course was decent except for those small hills on the back end.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Do your research on hotels that allow late check out. Unless this has recently changed, the host hotel (Embassy) didn't allow late check out in 2015. I stayed at Holiday Inn Express

review of 2016 Rocket City Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Great start and finish setup. A somewhat boring course but very flat, as advertised.

Race Tips

Try to run tangents (shortest straight line distance) at much as possible. There are many turns on the course which can cause you to run a good bit longer than the race length. My GPS showed 26.45 miles at the finish. This threw off my time expectations as I mentally calculated during the race.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

SpringHill Suites is a great value hotel for this race, just a short walk to the start / finish. I used my Marriott Rewards number when making the reservation and was offered early check-in on Friday and a late (2:00 pm) checkout on race day.

review of 2015 Rocket City Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Very well organized. Very convenient start if you stay in Embassy Suites. You do not have to walk outside until the start. The new course is very fair.

Race Tips

Be prepared for any type of weather.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Stay in Embassy Suites for convenience to the start and finish.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Rocket City Marathon in 3:10:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.