I just finished participating in the Taste of Athens Weekend. The Taste of Athens events were created to benefit the Community Connection of Northeast Georgia. This year was the 20th Annual Taste of Athens and 3rd Annual Taste10K. I decided to share my experience on the blog for everyone that might consider participating next year!
I signed up online to run the Taste10k when the registration was $30 early bird. A great price, including a t-shirt with a “running wine glass” that I was very excited about. One of the coordinators that works in the Center for Student Organizations at UGA, Megan J., reassured me that this was a great course (even in hilly Athens) and would be a good race for my first 10k! I was still nervous…. I only signed up for the 10k because I decided I wouldn’t be able to pay for the $50 Taste of Athens event ticket this year, but maybe it would be something I could look forward to next year.
On Tuesday morning (2/12), 4 days before the race, I received a tweet and direct message in class that I won two tickets to the Taste of Athens!
Now I was REALLY excited. I had been posting on Twitter about the 10K and my excitement for the weekend – and those tweets paid off when I was surprised by @Taste10K with tickets to Sunday’s Taste of Athens event. The online presence for the Taste10K and the Taste of Athens events are great. Not only do they maintain a useful website, they also have a 10K Twitter and Facebook page and a Taste of Athens Twitter and Facebook page. Love when organizations use social media to interact with their audience, especially if it involves a fun contest!
Around Thursday (2/14) I started to get anxious looking at the weather for Saturday. Close to freezing temperatures and snow? Not exactly how I pictured my first 10k…
Finally it was Saturday – race day! Megan J. picked me and Andy up at 7:15 am and we headed downtown for the race start. It was cold, but I was covered in UnderArmor head to toe, and the gloves and headband were helping.
Megan and I trying to stay warm before the start!
The race started at 8 am and had about 300 runners. I love smaller crowds, I think it makes for a unique and comfortable race experience. There were a few hills throughout, but it is hard to avoid hills in Athens. Miles 2 and 3 were the most difficult. Pulaski St. to Barrow is hilly with one steep rise on Barrow.
I usually run on Prince Ave, so I loved the fifth (and last mile). I finished under my goal (1 hour) with an official time of 56:33!
My finish for the Taste 10k!
If you are looking for a 10k race in the Athens area or even a Peachtree qualifier I highly recommend the Taste of Athens 10k. The race was well organized and fun (despite the cold temperatures). Also, the formation of the Athens Road Runners group was announced at the 10k, so make sure to check out that if you are a runner in Athens. Student membership is only $15!
Sunday night’s event finished up the Taste of Athens weekend with a bang. I wasn’t sure what to expect and how the whole process would work. I attended the Taste of the Town in High Point, NC for years but this was definitely a different setup. Megan D., my assistantship supervisor, (a different Megan!) came along with me to the Taste; 5 pm was a good time to get there for general admission, the line was not too long and it moved quickly. We purchased the plate and wine glass for $10 ($5 each) at the entrance and I am so glad we did! It was nice to have plate that held the wine glass and left me another free hand to pick up food, eat, etc.
Here is a list of the vendors (give or take a few that I can’t remember) from the 2013 sponsors I was able to check out:
Barberitos Southwest Grille
Terrapin Beer Company
Chops & Hops
La Dolce Vita
Waterman Spring Water
Athens Bagel Company
Don Sebastiani and Sons
Brett’s Casual American
Cecelia Villaveces Cakes
Butt Hutt BBQ
Silver Lining Cupcake Company
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly
All of the food was delicious! There were a few places I did not get to check out either because they ran out of food or I was too full at the end. My favorite restaurant vendors were La Dolce Vita and White Tiger Gourment. They had Gnocchi al Gorgonzola at La Dolce Vita and barbecue at White Tiger Gourmet. I also enjoyed Athens Bagel Company and Brett’s Casual American (bagels and buffalo chicken tacos/wraps are some of my favorite foods). All four of the previous restaurants are Athens locations I have not visited yet, so safe to say this event added to my bucket list of Athens restaurants for the next year and a half. My favorite dessert was the cupcake from Cecelia’s Villaveces Cakes, but I also had a delicious “terrapin” (homemade turtles with terrapin rye caramel and toasted GA pecans) treat from home.made catering.
Chocolate cupcake from Cecelia Villaveces Cakes and red velvet cupcake & mint cake ball from Silver Lining Cupcake Company
I highly recommend this event to Athens residents or anyone that wants to take a weekend trip to Athens for a good race and great food. The Taste of Athens timing on Sunday night makes it a longer weekend trip but it is worth it to check out the food and beverage booths. Megan and I also browsed the silent auction and saw some great items but no bidding for us. The event was scheduled 5-8 pm but by 7 pm things were winding down so we headed home. Overall a great event and our happiness was captured by Blane Marable photography!
Photo from Blane Marable Photography http://spotted.onlineathens.com/galleries/429588/
I plan to participate in both the 10K and Taste of Athens event next year! At the Taste of Athens event, I will pay a little more attention to which vendors I visit at the beginning to make sure I get a chance to try everything. And a coworker gave me a few tips to try out at next years event: share food samples with friends so you don’t fill up as quick and remove the bread from the sliders that many of the restaurants give out for a smaller less filling portion! Great things to know and try next year. Hope this encourages you to give the Taste of Athens weekend a try in 2014!