Tuscaloosa Half Marathon for a good cause

By Kiera Grogan
News Reporter

The Sixth Tuscaloosa Half Marathon was hosted by CNL Financial on March 24 this year. The race began and ended at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, with the first three miles heading down Jack Warner Parkway, going up and down hills and then making a right on Helen Keller Boulevard.

The idea of a half marathon in Tuscaloosa had been tossed around from time to time, until in 2012 a committee was put together to plan the inaugural 2013 Tuscaloosa Half Marathon. It came right after a devastating tornado hit Tuscaloosa in April 2011. The half marathon received so much support from the community, with proceeds benefiting the Kiwanis Club and Read BAMA Read, that it continues today.

In the last five years, the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon has raised a total of $226,000 for local charities like Read BAMA Read, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa, and Arts ‘n Autism. This year, the  committee paired up with the Mayor’s Cup 5K. Now in its 12th year, the Mayor’s Cup 5k has raised more than $247,000 for the Tuscaloosa Pre-K initiative.

Emily Eagerton, a University of Alabama graduate, ran the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon this year in hopes of beating her personal record of 1 hour and 38 minutes. She succeeded,  finishing in 1 hour and 24 minutes. Eagerton began running marathons just two years ago, but has been hooked ever since.

“I get asked a lot what inspires me to run,” she said. “I run to inspire others, I run to motivate others to get out and be active even if it means walking or running for just 30 minutes a day.”

Terry Wiggins, trainer and manager at 9 Round Fitness, a kickboxing gym in Tuscaloosa, also participated in the Tuscaloosa half marathon. Unlike Eagerton, this was his first half marathon experience. He describes it as challenging but rewarding. He set a goal time for himself of 2 hours.

“It was great, I didn’t expect to finish in that time, I just wanted to run without stopping. For me to get that time, I’m impressed with myself.”

Wiggins says he only trained for about a week and a half, and went into the race nervous. He was originally encouraged to sign up for the race by members who he trains at 9 Round Fitness. He says his endurance from kickboxing helped him keep up in the race and he plans on training for a marathon next.

For information on the next Tuscaloosa Marathon visit tuscaloosahalfmarathon.org