The 12th-annual Running the Vines was held Saturday at Shelton Vineyards in Dobson. Touted as a rain or shine event, some participants said they had been worried about the prospects of rain but it was held at bay until later in the day allowing the race to be run without incident.
The annual event is a favorite run for participants to challenge themselves and raise funds for the Reeves Community Center Foundation of Mount Airy and Surry County Parks and Recreation. In years past, organizers said proceeds have assisted with scholarships, programming such as Special Olympics, and health and wellness opportunities.
Darren Lewis, Mount Airy assistant city manager, offered thanks before the race to host Shelton Vineyards, Go Sports Timing for helping time the race, and especially the large number of volunteers and support staff who helped man water stops along the trail, and were posted along the course, aas well as Surry County EMS officials who followed on bicycles to render assistance if needed.
After the color guard from East Surry High exited, someone with a good sense of humor and/or timing turned up the volume on the 1980s classic “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls to set the tone.
Lewis counted the runners along the starting line down as the 10k runners got their timepieces or smart watches ready. A few last stretches to prevent injury and 112 runners took off on their way around Shelton Vineyards.
It was Julia Draughn, 34, of Mount Airy, who had the winning time of 47:08 followed by Lori Kincer, visiting from Wytheville, Virginia, with 48:48, and Tammy Moore of Kernersville placed third with a time of 50:16.7.
Teddy Park, 46, came from Asheville to win the men’s 10k with a winning time of 35.56.10, Cayden Dalton, of Stuart, Virginia., logged a time of 36:17:20 and Frolian Frutos from Statesville came in third place finishing with a time of 36:52:06.
Fifteen minutes after the 10k race launched, a much larger group of 353 began their trek. It was a mix of runners, joggers, walkers, baby wielding stroller-pushers, and more than a few who were just out to have a fun time and did not finish the course.
This one doesn’t count, per se, and organizers made clear that the course lengths were not certified down to the foot, yard, or inch – so these are not times to set official records of any sort; rather to be enjoyed for the accomplishment and the benefits yielded to the Reeves Community Center Foundation and participants of programs from county parks and recreation.
Lewis called over the loudspeaker to say that he saw the first runners from the 5k approaching and the leaders were a group of lean young men who the lithe frame of experienced runners who were led by Erick Ramirez, 22, of Dobson, who posted a time of 17:37.1. Freddy Hernandez of Mount Airy placed second with his time of 17:42 and Dobson’s Rodrigo Cortes finished in third place with a time of 18:32.50.
Perhaps the shorter distance brings out the younger competitors with the winners of the 5k ages being 22, 15, 14, 16, and 52. Lupe Luna, 52, from Dobson bucked that trend with his strong fifth place finish in the 5k making him the highest placing finisher in either race over the age of 50.
The women’s field also had a younger set of winners on the podium than did the 10k with Brook Haynes, 15, of Mount Airy, winning the 5k with a time of 21:53:3. Amy Koontz, of Advance, finished second clocking in at 24:11:5 and Leslie Guyer, from Glen Allen, Virginia, won the bronze with a finishing time of 24:37:7.
Wendy Fuller of Winston-Salem stood along the roadway waiting for her favorite runner to crest the hill that led down Cabernet Lane from Twin Oaks Road to the area in front of the Harvest Grille that served as the start/finish area.
“With these knees? No way,” she said of the idea of participating in Running the Vines or a fun run. “But I was born to be a cheerleader.” She spotted her friend and let out a yell of encouragement while grabbing her camera to start taking pictures of her friend’s moment of accomplishment.
The vast majority of runners were North Carolinians, but quite a few runners came down from Virginia, and others joined from Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Dakota, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio. Even Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin found they were represented.
Formerly the director of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation, Lewis knows all about the impact events such as Running the Vine can have on the local economy by bringing in large numbers of runners from out of the area. There were more than a few who arrived Friday for a get together on the grounds of Shelton Vineyards.
As runners crossed the line, Lewis offered congratulations and identified many of the runners by name – one of the advantages of living in a community this size. He told the runners to go recharge at the Food Lion tent however more than a few contestants made a break for peanut butter delight that was being handed out by the Collins family and WIFM radio.
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