No Meat Athletes Storm DC!

Okay, this post is way delayed … but I suppose that’s what moving will do to you. I’m moving to Asheville, NC in 10 days with my wife and son, and this has been Crazy Packing Week. But the POD loaded with all our stuff gets picked up tomorrow, so things should return to normal soon.

In the meantime, I want to share a few photos and a quick recap of last weekend’s events. Saturday was the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon and Half in DC, and the first race we’ve done with an official No Meat Athlete group! We had a blast, and a lot of first-time marathoners and half marathoners crossed the finish line sporting their NMA colors.

Here’s how it all went down.

Dinner at Cafe Green

About 35 NMA runners and their guests gathered at Cafe Green for a wonderful vegan pre-race dinner. It was nice that everyone already knew each other from posting in the forums and attending the Q&A sessions. Lack of lame awkwardness = win for everyone.

On the menu were entrees like mac and cheeze, raw zucchini pesto pasta, gnocchi di roso (my choice), and a housemade veggie patty on a mung bean pancake. We also had appetizers, salads, and some vegan fudge and cake for dessert.

The food was delicious, and looked really nice too. Apparently I’ve forgotten my food blogger roots though, because I didn’t even think of taking a picture of the food.

We also had a special surprise guest join us — Gene Baur, co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, who happened to be running his first marathon the next day. Gene was kind enough to say a few words before dinner, and it was an honor to get to hang out with someone who has done so much for our cause. (I actually ran with him and the 3:30 pace group during the race, but eventually Gene dusted me en route to a sub-3:30 first marathon.)

Next time you’re in DC, check out Cafe Green. I had never heard of it before this, but it came highly recommended by Doug, who was our man on the ground in DC and did most of the planning for our event. The food was wonderful and I’ll definitely eat there again when I’m in DC.

Race day morning

Not everyone stayed at the “official” hotel (Helix), so pre-race, we hung out in different groups. Luckily, we had handed out some fruit and the vegan bagels and muffins we got from Sticky Fingers Bakery the night before at dinner, so nobody went hungry.

A few of us met up briefly at the start area, but soon it was time to head to our different starting corrals. I actually saw several NMA shirts on people who weren’t in our group, so that was pretty cool. For as many stories as I hear of people who run into each other while wearing their NMA shirts, I hadn’t seen all that many on random people until this weekend. Score.

As for the race itself, by and large it was a big success for our runners. As I mentioned, we had several first timers in our group, and a few of us set PR’s.

Susan, who is training to qualify for Boston and treated this race as a training run, finished the half right at two hours, just as she planned. I finished the full in 3:39, which I was actually pretty happy with. Almost all of my training had been on hillier terrain at a slower pace, so I wasn’t really sure how fast to run. It turns out that I started too fast, and as a result I slowed down significantly during the last six miles. But trust me, I’ve crashed a lot worse than that before!

After the race

Post-race, it was time to relax and enjoy not just a beautiful day, but the fact that this group came together the way it did.

That, and Sticky Fingers cinnamon buns plus free Michelob Ultra in the beer garden. I mean, say what you will about our being a real presence at the race and introducing tons of runners and spectators to the idea that you can do awesome stuff and be vegetarian, but we all know we really did it for the pastries and a free 8-ounce can of beer.

Where do we go next?

Alright, back to packing for me. But first, I’ve got one more photo to share, this one completely unrelated except that it involves an NMA shirt.

Kayna, a longtime fan of the site, wore hers while she took first place in her age group in a half marathon. That half marathon, I should mention, was in Antarctica!

And so the carrot has officially reached all seven continents. What’s next?

Well, we are definitely going to do another group race, hopefully bigger and even better. We’re shooting for this fall, and we’re open to ideas about where to go next — preferably on this continent (for now). If there’s a race you think would be just perfect, we want to hear about it!

Thanks so much to the 25 members of our first-ever training group, and to all the people (and the two restaurants) that helped make it happen. And of course, thanks to for putting on a great race. The Rock ‘n’ Roll races are still my favorites.

Hope to see you in our next group!



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  1. This is AWESOME! I want in on wherever the fall race is ๐Ÿ™‚ Great work, everyone!

  2. I saw you in your shirts during the race! Congrats to the finishers!

  3. next race– grand teton dreamchasers 50!!! there are all distances in the beautiful mountains of wyoming. a sure win!!

  4. Christine says:

    Moving to Asheville? You’re going to love the vegan choices in restaurants to be certain. Laughing Seed is one of my very favorites. As for races nearby, I’ve done the Spinx in Greenville, SC. It’s fairly small, but it’s a terrific course: challenging and very pretty. I’ve also run the Atlanta Half on Thanksgiving Day and that was a lot of fun. I just finished the Georgia Half and the Altanta Track Club does a great job on their events. Trying to decide what to do in the fall, but I’m looking at a trail race in Asheville in June.

  5. No Meat Athlete and Farm Sanctuary…two of my favorite things!!! Awesome.

    • I concur: Farm Sanctuary + NMA + veg fare = awesome!!! Wish I could’ve been there.

      In the fall there’s a lovely race at Niagara Falls. I believe it starts in the States and ends in Canada. I’m planning that as my first full marathon (for one, it’s not too hilly, but especially because it’s in wine country for a little post-race celebration!!)

      Congrats to all the participants of the DC race!

  6. Aboslutely LOVE Cafe Green and was very happy to see you post about it!


    It’s actually in February of next year, so almost a year away.

    But still, it’s an awesome destination ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. this sounds amazing! i’m doing the san francisco us half in a couple weeks (17 days, actually!) and hope to see some fellow NMAers – i’ll be wearing my shirt! i would LOVE to be a part of a gathering if you do one on the west coast!

  9. I am new to the site, but am a vegetarian runner. I was excited to see one of your shorts on someone @ a run here in St Louis & even more thrilled after I perused the website! I am doing my 1st half this Sunday. But, we have the Rock N Roll here on the fall also & I want to run it also. Maybe a group here?!

  10. I saw two folks in NMA shirts during the race and thought that was pretty cool. You guys had an impressive turn out!

  11. Congratulations to all!!

  12. AWESOMENESS ! Congrats everyone ! Come to San Diego ! I know you and your wife love it here ! hehe. We have a ‘Rock n Roll’ in June !!! Plenty of vegan-friendly restaurants and communities too !!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. What a wonderful get together! Hooray for veggie runners! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Gene Baur says:

    It was a great time! Thank you Matt and all you no meat athletes for showing the world that vegans rock!

  15. Kathleen says:

    Bring your team to the Under Armor Baltimore Running Festival!

  16. Sounds like a lot of fun for everyone! That is SOOOO cool that the NMA shirt is being worn in all 7 continents!!!

  17. Congrats to all of you! Yay for NMAs and Farm Sanctuary. WTG Gene!

    It’s later than the Fall, but how about the Rock N Roll Marathon in Phoenix- Jan 20, 2013?

    It would be my first half or full marathon…

  18. The race was beautiful. I went to cheer on my sister. Coincidentally, we ate at all the same places. Sticky fingers was amazing! After seeing your tees I checked out this sight & as a veggie runner I love it! Congrats to you all!

  19. Love the T-Shirts. Can I order them from the UK? Will they find their was over the pond?

  20. I think we all had a great time Matt! It was great to meet so many of you in the DC area and from all over.

    Thanks putting on such an awesome event, and I look forward to the next!

  21. Laura B. says:

    Perhaps the Detroit Marathon, October 22? It features the only under-water mile in any marathon (through a tunnel, of course). Plus you get to run through two countries. It’ll be my first marathon.

  22. You could hit the middle part of the country and do the PrairieFire in Wichita, KS (the logo is a rabbit with flaming tracks, what could be better?). Or White Rock in Dallas, I saw quite a few NMA shirts there last year. Are you going to start selling NMA shirts like the one you had on in the post?

  23. Jon Weisblatt says:

    Hey Matt,
    Why a move to Asheville? Sunds awesome. Still teaching or is it NMA full time? I hear Asheville a groovy town. Danney Dreyer and Chirunning headquarters are there. Maybe you guys will run into each other on the trails. Have fun and good luck with the move!

  24. Hey Matt

    It was great to meet you finally. I missed out on the post race festivities. It was too hot and humid for me so and at mile 13 I felt that 3:10 wasn’t going to happen so I took the half finish (in 1:35). It ended up being a smart move as my plantar fasciitis caused my foot to swell up the next two days. I’m sure doing the full I could’ve done some serious damage.

    Thanks and hopefully we can have a NMA event in New York City


  25. ! Shorter race (4.5 miles), but 9 staircases for (supposedly) 1000 stairs total. Plus, higher altitude and a delicious vegan restaurant in town.

    • Katie- Thanks for posting about the Bisbee 1000. I live in Tempe. This looks like a lot of fun! I’m working on talking my hubby into going to do this. Have you done it before? What is the name of the vegan restaurant there?

  26. Portland (OR) Marathon! 10/7/12. See you there?

  27. How about a triathlon next time? Or maybe we sanction our own event.

  28. Welcome to Asheville! We are a strange mix of rednecks, liberals and retired Floridians.

  29. Thanks to Matt, Erin ,Doug and Susan for arranging such a great get together for us. What a nice group of people from all over the USA. I see a real trend starting here and I must say I like it. If any of you ever get up to upstate NY, Gene Bauers’ Farm Sanctuary is a beautiful place. Maybe a race up there would be a good location? I personally like the Tri Idea!

  30. We had the pleasure of going to Asheville once. Outstanding place!
    This was a great post!

  31. Sue Clough says:

    How about the Mohawk Hudson Valley Full and Half in NY in October. Must not be too far from Gene.

  32. I’m from Asheville. Besides the vegetarian mix of restaurants Asheville has some really excellent brewerys. I suggest you take one of the beer tours when you get a chance.

  33. For a fall marathon, how about Mount Desert Island Marathon… up in Bar Harbor Maine, on October 14th.

    It’s one of the most beautiful, yet challenging courses you’ll ever run. Bar Harbor has a nice collection of no-meat friendly restaurants. Plus, the race falls after the heavy tourist season, so there aren’t any crowds to deal with. I’ve made the trip the past four years, and it’s been peak fall foliage each year.

  34. Congrats on having your first official training group at a race.

    And best wishes with the move.

  35. I’m planning on doing the St. Augustine Half November 17-18 — not a bad drive from Ashville AND it’s in the oldest city in the U.S.! (:
    Congrats to the finishers!!

  36. Citizen Times half Marathon in Asheville!

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