The Tuscaloosa Half Marathon was simply an idea that was thrown around from time to time. Finally, in 2012, a race committee was established and ideas began to evolve, resulting in the inaugural 2013 Tuscaloosa Half Marathon. The race received more support than the committee could have ever imagined which allowed it to showcase the vibrant city and show first-hand the “run toward recovery” that had been made since the devastating April 2011 tornado. All proceeds from the inaugural event went directly to two local charities, The Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa and ReadBAMARead. Each organization was helping rebuild Tuscaloosa in different ways but fit perfectly with the “Run Toward Recovery” initiative.

On a chilly race day in 2013, over 1,000 registered participants and 250 fun runners braved the cold weather to show their support of this inaugural event, as well as their love and passion for the City. Participants traveled through direct paths of the 2011 tornado; where some areas were a work in progress, while other areas had recovered. That morning was emotional for many, but it pushed all involved to run for those that went through so much, or who lost their lives, to run on that day.  Several participants were tornado survivors themselves.

As a result of the tremendous support from the City of Tuscaloosa, community businesses and organizations, and participants, the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon received rave reviews. Participants traveled from 27 states and two countries to be a part of the inaugural race. In addition to this, $60,000 was donated to The Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa and ReadBAMARead. Books were bought for the Tuscaloosa schools that lost their libraries on April 27th, and funds were used to assist in the rebuilding of Rosedale Park.

After this success, the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon was declared an annual event. The THM continues to make many improvements, increase participation and has had successful years. Since the inaugural race (2013), a total of $226,000 has been donated to benefiting charities!  ReadBAMARead continues to utilize this money to advocate for children’s literacy in Tuscaloosa County schools. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa took it a step further and now uses their proceeds to benefit children charities in West Alabama. Those recipients during the past years have been RISE, Arts ‘n Autism, Thomas Plott Foundation/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of West Alabama and SMA. Additionally, the Literacy Council of West Alabama was also a beneficiary. In 2016,  Arts ‘n Autism  was added as the 3rd main benefiting partner. 

The 2019 Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports Half Marathon marked the next chapter in the event’s story.  FRESHJUNKIE Racing (FJR), the production company that produced the race in 2015, acquired ownership of the event.  FJR is committed to keeping this popular race a local favorite as well as regional attraction for runners from all over the Southeast.  The Kiwanis Club of Greater Tuscaloosa and Arts ‘n Autism will remain as charity partners moving forward for future years.

We invite you to be a part of West Alabama’s premier half marathon race weekend and truly have the opportunity to “Run for a Purpose”!