A kindergartner jumps for joy at the end of the race. Source: WBRC photo/Melynda Sides
A second graders is all smiles at the end of his one-mile run. Source: WBRC photo/Melynda Sides
A fourth grade student gets a hug of congratulations at the end of the race. Source: WBRC photo/Melynda Sides
A third grader gives the thumbs up sign as he finishes strong. Source: WBRC photo/Melynda Sides
A second grader raises his arms in victory as he crosses the finish line. Source: WBRC photo/Melynda Sides
Hundreds of elementary school students braved the cold to run a mile through downtown Birmingham in the Mercedes Kids Marathon on Saturday morning.
Starting in September, these kindergarten through fifth grade students have been training for the race by running in quarter, half, three-fourths and one mile increments.
Once they crossed the finish line today, the young runners completed their 26th mile in an endurance program designed to help them run the full distance of a full marathon, 26.2 miles, over the course of five months.
The kids were divided into grades marked by different colored running shirts. Fifth graders, wearing black, were the first group to take off in the race. They were followed by fourth graders in gold, third graders wearing gray, second grade students in white, first graders wearing blue, and finally kindergarten students in red.
At the end of the race, each child was awarded a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Kids Mercedes Marathon Finisher's medal. But as the organizers put it, "If you've had fun you've won!" And judging by the smiles at the finish line, some of relief, many of triumph, there were hundreds of winners today.
For more 2013 Mercedes Marathon coverage, click here.