Rocket City Marathon


The Huntsville Track Club proudly presents the Rocket City Marathon, one of the premiere races in the south for over 40 years. Our course winds through downtown Huntsville, past historic homes and sites, out to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, and back to an exciting finish inside the Von Braun Center.

RCM serves as a Boston Marathon qualifier, scores double points on the Running Journal Grand Prix 40 Championship Circuit, and is the host marathon for this year’s RRCA State Marathon Championship.

Pre-race excitement begins the day before the marathon at the Huntsville Museum of Art where runners can pick up their race packets, visit the expo, and attend the Pre-Race Dinner (tickets required) featuring Mike Durant, American pilot, author, and subject of the movie Black Hawk Down. In addition, there will be a guided, easy run through Historic Downtown Huntsville.

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.

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.



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.

Sentries are located at all turns, and the course is permanently marked with clearly visible indicators painted on the streets. In addition, split timers will have mileage posted on large flags. Aid stations are located every 2 to 3 miles along with numerous port-0-let locations.

Intersection control, traffic restriction and course monitoring provided by HPD (Huntsville Police Department).

Communications along the course provided by the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club.

Medical support provided by HEMSI (Huntsville Emergency Medical Services).

For those unable to finish within the alloted time of 6 hours, SAG vehicles will offer rides back to the VBC.

The typical low temperature for Huntsville in early December is 34, and the normal high is 53.


Course Certification

The Rocket City Marathon course is CERTIFIED by USATF, certification number AL14064JD and is a Boston Qualifier, sanctioned by RRCA, USATF and USATFDPC. Participants may be subject to drug testing.


Complete USATF rules may be found here. NOTE: Headphone wearers will not be eligible for prize money.

Award ceremony will be held at 1:15 in the Propst Arena.

Prizes and awards will not be mailed.


Open Male and Female Division

1st – $1,000
2nd – $750
3rd – $500
4th – $300
5th – $200


Masters Male and Female

1st – $750
2nd – $500
3rd – $250

RRCA Alabama Marathon Championship

Prizes will be awarded to male and female

  • Open

  • Masters

  • Grand Masters

  • Senior Grand Masters


Age Group Awards

Open and Masters prize money winners will receive Rocket City Marathon awards but are not eligible for Age Division Awards. The Top 3 Male and Female finishers in the following age groups will receive Rocket City Marathon awards:

  • 0 – 19,

  • 20 – 24,

  • 25 – 29,

  • 30 – 34,

  • 35 – 39,

  • 40 – 44,

  • 45 – 49,

  • 50 – 54,

  • 55 – 59,

  • 60 – 64,

  • 65 – 69,

  • 70 – 74,

  • 75 & up

Rules and Information


Due to liability insurance requirements, and for the safety of all runners, the following are not allowed during the race:

  • strollers,

  • baby joggers,

  • skateboards,

  • bicycles,

  • animals,

  • roller blades,

  • unauthorized vehicles,

  • unregistered runners.

In addition the use of headphones is strongly discouraged.


(B Tag Timing)

Runner’s bibs will have a timing tag (B tag) attached. Results will show a gun time and chip time.

6 Hour Time Limit

Times up to 6 hours and 5 minutes will be recorded and published. After that time no runner will be counted as an official finisher of the race and the finish line timing equipment will be removed. In keeping with this time limit and to ensure safety, runners must maintain an average pace of 13:44 min/mile pace. Anyone slower than 3:15 at the halfway point (the corner of Monroe and Clinton) will not be allowed to continue. For those runners who unfortunately fall behind the cutoff, a return ride to the VBC will be offered. Those refusing the ride will be asked to return their race numbers and sign a liability release form before continuing.

Split Times

Splits will be called at each mile, and there will be an overhead clock at the finish. Additional split times given at 10 kilometers, halfway (13.1 miles) and 1 mile to go (25.2 miles).

Pace Teams

Please visit the Pace Teams page for details.

Aid Stations

There will be several aid stations located along the course offering water, Gatorade Endurance, and GU Energy Gels. The distance between stations will be 2 to 3 miles. In addition, there will be numerous port-o-let locations on the course.


Both medical support and radio communications will be provided to assure safety of the runners. A field hospital is set up inside the VBC for runners needing extra care after the race.

Race Packets

Race packets may be picked up at the Huntsville Museum of Art on Friday, December 7, 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.


Race start is at 7:00 AM. Seeding for the first 20 runners is by best marathon time in last three years. Ten mile or half marathon times may be used if no recent marathons.