COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987
March 13, 2013

AthHalf Wants Taxpayer Funding

Registration for the October race opens today.

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Athens-Clarke commissioner and AthFest Executive Director Jared Bailey made a pitch for funding for AthHalf, AthFest's half marathon fundraiser to the Athens Downtown Development Authority on Tuesday.

The ADDA has a pot of money to help fund downtown events, but the board has declined to give any to AthHalf—a decision Bailey took issue with. Although the race starts downtown, the board decided it wasn't really a downtown event because it winds through other neighborhoods and ends at Sanford Stadium.

"I think that was not a valid point," Bailey said. "I think it's very much a downtown event." He noted that participants gather at the Classic Center and usually return downtown after the race, and that spectators also gather there.

Board members had also said that they want to reserve funding for new events that need to help to become successful. Bailey then questioned by the ADDA is giving money to the Twilight Criterium, a for-profit bike race downtown. AthFest barely breaks even, and any money it makes goes toward schools, Bailey said.

Correction: Twilight has been a nonprofit for the past three years and is raising money for Habitat for Humanity.

Bailey also suggested that more money should be devoted to downtown events, perhaps from ACC's tax on hotel and motel rooms that is currently split between the Classic Center and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. That tax, paid by visitors, is reserved for organizations that promote tourism and economic development. 

"I'd like to see us put a little more into events because, as you know, events create tourism, and tourism is economic development," Bailey told the board.

It's still seven months away, but now's the time to register for AthHalf if you want to save a few bucks, organizers announced today.

Registration is officially open for the AthHalf, the 4 annual half marathon race to raise funds for AthFest Educates, a non-profit dedicated to music and arts education in Athens.  

The 2013 AthHalf, presented by locally-owned bank National Bank of Georgia, will take place Sunday, October 20, at 7:30am.  The race starts in downtown Athens and will wind through downtown streets, historic neighborhoods, along the Oconee River Greenway and the UGA campus, and culminates with a dash around the Hedges at UGA’s Sanford Stadium, and the finish line at the Tate Student Center. Early registration is $50.00 until April 30, then $60 until June 30, $70 until September 30, and $80 up to race day.  Online registration is open at active.com and closes October 18th at 9:00pm.   

The AthHalf was designed to showcase Athens—its vibrant downtown, beautiful historic buildings, UGA campus and world renowned music scene--and is described by AthFest director Jared Bailey as, “an exciting race course in a world class city.”   

Bailey said 3000 people ran the race last year, and runners described the race as a challenging course and a lot of fun.  The race course includes lots of support, hydration stations, cheering fans, energy gels, and live music. The race is part of the Run & See Georgia Grand Prix, and is a U. S. Track and Field (USATF) Certified and Sanctioned race.  

All finishing participants will receive a finisher’s medal, and the first 100 receive a “Top 100” t-shirt.  There are cash prizes for overall winners and masters winners, and custom ceramic platters made by local artists will be awarded to the top three winners for each of 12 age groups 

On Saturday October 19, 2013 there will be a free Health and Fitness Expo from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Classic Center. The Expo will have bargains on running and fitness merchandise, free samples and demonstration of nutrition and fitness products, and all sorts of health and fitness exhibits related to running, walking, and overall wellness. Volunteers are being recruited to help with registration at the expo and for race day, with sign up open through HandsOn Northeast Georgia.  For more information about the race visit http://www.athhalf.com or email info@athhalf.com. 

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