Rod Budnik, of Traverse City, has ran (and won) the Harvest Stompede Vineyard Run & Walk and Wine Tour numerous times. The event, which marks its 10th year this September, offers a 7-mile or 5K run/walk through the hilly terrain of Ciccone vineyard at 10343 E. Hilltop Rd. in Leelanau County. More than 800 people – veteran and novice athletes alike – will part in the festivities which are capped with wine and food. This year’s event is slated for Sept. 18-19 2010.

Years he’s participated in the 7-mile race: Four

2008 race time:
43:20

Best part of the event:
The course. There’s nothing else like it. There are few true cross country events to participate in anywhere and we are fortunate to have a course that’s is as beautiful and challenging as this one!

Training “Musts”: Hills, lots of hills! The course is not very forgiving if you’re not prepared for the hills.

Last year’s goal: I’d like to win it again, but I know there are a lot of fast runners here in Northern Michigan, so I will be happy if I can go faster than last year.

Reasons to consider trying this race: It’s truly a unique place to run. Nate Rouse has worked very well with the property owners (who very generously allow us to run through their vineyards every year) to create an awesome well-organized and very fun race.

Post-race ritual: Pictures with friends and family (and if I’m lucky, a nap).

Advice for this year’s runners:
Don’t expect to come and run your fastest race! Come and have fun, even if you have to walk some. The surroundings are beautiful and worth your morning even if you don’t do as well as you would like. You’ll never regret being a part of this event.