Not Your Average Run

By Alayna Callanan ’14
University Communications

As a graduating senior at U of R, it was on my bucket list to eat a Garbage Plate at the original Nick Tahou’s. How better to do it than by participating in Sigma Phi Epsilon’s 11th annual Nick Tahou’s Run?

Now, I am not much of a runner. I ran one season of cross-country in high school but have not run consistently since. Only twice have I ever run more than a 5K, so even without factoring in the food, the 4.4 mile run was daunting. Even worse, my stomach is fairly sensitive; I never eat fast food and try to avoid greasy, unhealthy food at all costs. However, something about Sig Ep’s run was calling to me.

For anyone not familiar with a Garbage Plate, it is combination of meat, carbs and hot sauce. In this case, two cheeseburgers over heaping piles of home fries and mac salad, smothered in Nick’s signature hot sauce along with two slices of bread, which were all donated by Nick Tahou’s. Normally, the task of running and eating is split by a team of two or three people, but I was feeling crazy enough to undertake the event without aid.

The pride of becoming an Iron Woman, running the 2.2 miles to the original Nick Tahou’s, eating an entire Garbage Plate singlehandedly, and running back, was appealing in a bizarre way.  I must not have been the only one to feel this way! Nearly 50 participants, including many Iron Men and Iron Women, braved the “balmy” Rochester day with weather hovering around freezing and occasional flurries and strong winds on Saturday, April 5. It was a tough challenge physically, but the mental game was much worse. I could not imagine doing the race alone, so I enlisted Miriam Grigsby ’17 to pursue the Iron Woman challenge alongside me. Without each other’s support, we would not have been able to finish in an hour and six minutes; together we were able to keep each other motivated, run’s both ways, and suppress the overwhelming urge to spew.

Better yet, all proceeds of the race benefitted the Mt. Hope Family Center! The Mt. Hope Family Center works with the Clinical and Social Psychology Department to build strong families by providing intervention and prevention therapies to at-risk children and families.

This race is certainly not for the faint of heart… or stomach, but I would highly recommend it to anyone considering participating in the future! While supporting a great cause, I had a fantastic and highly memorable day. One less thing to do on my shrinking list of things to do before Commencement! I am sure the Class of 2014 can sympathize with the excitement and dread of May 18. So if you are one of those seniors who still has not consumed a Garbage Plate, get on it! The clock is ticking.

And, here’s a special shout out to Jane Clinger ’16 who was the first solo competitor to finish at an impressive time of 44:20! (Depending on how fast she ate, that’s about a 7-minute mile!)

Watch WROC-TV’s story about the event here!

Tahou’s Run features Iron Men, Garbage Plates, and Charity

Univ. Communications – Like the Garbage Plate itself, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s annual Nick Tahou’s Run features an improbable mix of ingredients: fraternity brothers, a famous local eatery, a health clinic affiliated with the university, and participation in a race from the university and local community alike. It all goes toward a good cause: raising funds for at-risk children and families affected by abuse, neglect, violence, and other difficulties.

On Saturday, April 7th, about 100 contestants participated in the Tahou’s Run. It included representation from students, staff, members of the local community, and especially the brothers from Sigma Phi Epsilon, who organized the event. They come together for a relay race from the River Campus to Nick Tahou’s, a 4.4 mile round-trip run, which also features a meal of a whole Garbage Plate.

YNN Report: Tahou’s Fuels Runners

The run and relay race involve one person running two miles from the River Campus to Nick Tahou’s; one to eat a Garbage Plate; and a third to run back to campus. These roles can also be split between two people, or even a single person, who is given the title of Iron Man, “one brave soul who does it all.” The good-natured race is followed by an award for the top team.

Nick Tahou’s Garbage Plates have been a classic of Rochester for more than 50 years. Not for the timid of stomach, it is a mess of hamburger, cheeseburger, home fries, red hots, white hots, ham, chicken, fish, grilled cheese, macaroni salad, or eggs. One recommendation on says it all: “Eat this quickly or all the fat will gel the ingredients together!” Sixty of them were donated by Nick Tahou’s for this event.

The run this year raised more than $500 for the Mt. Hope Family Center, a Strong Memorial Hospital- affiliate that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and their families. It engages in both research and social services to make sure that children can develop, socially and emotionally. “The Mt. Hope Family Center is dedicated to helping at-risk children and families improve their lives by giving them the necessary resources to build strong healthy families and peer relationships,” said Sheree L. Toth, the executive director of the center. “Since we are part of the University of Rochester, we are thrilled the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chose to support us as their charity for this great race tradition.”


Two runners this year ran as Iron Men: David Liesegang, a staff member at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Travis Figueroa, a community member. While Kenny Hanchett ’14,  one of the race organizers admitted that “having to put your body through running 2.2 miles, eating a garbage plate, and running back is a difficult task,” turnout to the race was strong.

“I think it’s a uniquely college experience that everyone should do while at the U of R. Also, the money goes to the Mt. Hope Family Center, an organization Sigma Phi Epsilon has made strong ties with and a cause we feel worthy of public support and charitable donations,” he said.

The next Tahou’s Run will take place in spring 2013.

Article written by Dan Wang, a sophomore at Rochester, who studies philosophy and economics. Photos courtesy of the Mt. Hope Family Center.