Well, as seems to be the case this year – it rained on our parade again. In spite of that, this race is my favorite of all our races (don’t tell the other races that!) Running, cross country, wine, food, acoustic music – all this goodness in one race! It is perfect.
The race starts and finishes right at Newport Vineyard, the first mile loops amongst their grape vine varieties. The next 2 1/2 miles are in the Aquidneck Land Trust – corn fields, winding through woods, fields – hazards and all, truly a cross country course. I usually drive the course a few times just before the race to shovel the horse “droppings” off the course before the runners start. It is a challenging course not for the hills – it is pretty flat, but because most runners have never run off road before. You have to watch your step on every part. It is always a bit visceral running through nature like that. It is a different experience for many, and a much better one.
After you finish running through the vines and fields, you can hear the music and see the vineyard as you approach the final turn. Nothing makes some people finish faster than knowing there is a glass of wine waiting for them at the end. You literally get handed a custom wine glass as soon as you cross the finish line!
Then the party can begin – BBQ and acoustic music on the Vineyards stunning patio, bordered by the vines on one side and the gorgeous stainless steel vats on the other.
The Age Group winners are awarded custom labels bottles of wine! I have won my share of trophies but this would be my favorite!
Every year we do this race, we learn something new about how to improve it. Next year we will add mile markers on course. We can tweak the food a bit and shorten up the waves so there is more time to linger after the race. We send out post race surveys because we truly want to know what works and what doesn’t so we can make it better. For me – this race is everything that I love – running, trails, wine, music – I want this race to be AMAZING and learning from our experiences will help make it so.
Here is some cool drone footage from some of the last waves of the race: