Established in 1975 by a Birmingham Track Club (BTC) runner, Versal Spalding, the Bicentennial Run emerged as part of Birmingham’s 100- year birthday celebration. The entry fee was a meager $2.00 in 1975. So successful was the race that it continued the following year, and in 1976 was re-named the Vulcan Run
Vulcan is an appropriate title for this Birmingham-based race. From Roman mythology, Vulcan was the god of fire and craftsmanship. Because Birmingham is located on land comprised of the materials needed to make iron and steel, the local steel industry experienced rapid growth during the industrial revolution. Thus, Vulcan became a symbol of the city.
By the late 1980s, the Vulcan Run had grown to include upwards of five-thousand participants. It attracted top runners, including Marcos Brotto, who set a race record of 28:18. In 1990, Christine Pfitzinger set the women’s record of 32:33. Following this record, Pfitzinger won the race four consecutive times before she was invited to compete in the NYC marathon for the Olympic Trials.
The race became so popular that a Vulcan Marathon was established. In time, the Vulcan Marathon was incorporated into Birmingham’s Mercedes Marathon, which is held each February. The original Vulcan Run, however, remains unchanged in terms of distance, course, and name.
To date, the Vulcan Run remains an extremely popular race and in 2012 The Vulcan Run is the ALABAMA RRCA 10K STATE CHAMPIONSHIP. Each year the race generates approximately $2 million in revenue for the city. Through the years, the race has been made possible by sponsors including SONAT (Southern Natural Gas), The Birmingham News, Subway, Viva Health, Buffalo Rock, Pepsi, and the Bryant Jordan Foundation.