Race: Vinings Downhill 5K: Atlanta’s Fastest 5K
Date: August 17, 2013
Start Time: 8 a.m.
Weather: 64˚, overcast/mostly cloudy skies, 90% humidity
Elevation: Start – 1099 ft; Finish – 799 ft. (Net 280 ft. drop)
- Perfect weather for a 5K!
- Arrived at the start at 7:30 a.m. Race organizers opted to keep roads open until 7:50 a.m. This became somewhat chaotic when it was time to line up and close the roads. At one point, cars were driving through the crowd about three minutes before the start gun.
- The race is billed as “Atlanta’s fastest 5K” because of the many downhill stretches along the course. The first downhill is steep, however, and really caused me to keep my brakes on—especially with the bunching of runners that happens at any start.
- I found the race to be somewhat deceptive, in that the uphills were significant in grade and in length. Though billed as Atlanta’s fastest, because of the uphills, it was not my fastest race time. I actually run a faster time at the Heart and Soles 5K in Decatur in February.
- The course was mapped well, with volunteers stationed along the route. There was one water stop that I remember, about halfway along the route.
- There was a cruel uphill right before the finish! I can’t imagine that this uphill helped anybody’s time who was trying to get a PR.
- Because it’s a “one-way” course, and not a loop back to the start line, race organizers arranged to have school buses transport participants back to the finish party at Vinings Jubilee. There were plenty of buses, so no one had to wait to ride back up the hill. Many people opted to walk back up the hill to the party, but not this girl. I’d already put in my time; I was all done using my legs for a spell. Also, somehow I missed the water station at the finish line. I saw people with water bottles, but I didn’t see where they were given out. That was disappointing.
- According to Strava (a route mapping app for iPhone), I did achieve PRs in the 400m, the ½ mile, the 1K, the 1 mile, and the 2 mile. I think the uphills killed my chance at accomplishing a fast overall time.
- The most surprising thing to me about the Vinings Downhill was the well-planned and FUN finish party. I really haven’t seen one better . . . okay, maybe the Peachtree Road Race. Maybe. The finish party was where the finisher’s T-shirts (dri-fit available!) and swag bags were located—a little bit of a “gotcha” to make you hang around (if you care about T-shirts and swag). There were many community vendors offering freebies and coupons. There was a hoola hoop contest and a 1K Fun Run for the kiddos. After we perused the booths, we headed up to breakfast at Another Broken Egg—gotta replenish the body!
- Overall, I’d give the Vinings Downhill 5K a B+. I think I liked the after party more than I liked the race, mainly because I didn’t achieve my fastest race time.
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