Challenging and beautiful.

Finisher medals that truly are works of art.

Perfect amount of water stops. Friendly volunteers.

Such sentiments are how past participants of this month’s Vineyard to Bay describe the event, which includes a 25K, two-person 15K/10K relay, and 5K run/walk. It’s a race I’ve been itching to do for a couple of years now — it’s now in its third year — and this year it’s finally going tWINE BOTTLE LABEL FINAL.pngo happen. Andrew and I are signed on for the relay (we haven’t determined who will do which leg, but I’m hoping my body is up for the 15K) and Joe and Alex are registered for the 5K. Emma is eyeing the 5K as well but is still on the fence because she’s got a cross country meet and run camp the same week.

MRG is partnering again with organizers of the Vineyard to Bay 25K — you can listen to the podcast interview with race founder and director Ross Deye here » — and we recently caught up with runners and race sponsors (including the artist behind the beautiful tile art finisher medals) to learn more about Vineyard to Bay and see how things are shaping up for the Aug. 28 race.

Sponsor/runners: Big LITTLE Wines, creators of “small-batch wines from the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan.” “They contributed packet pickup bags the first year and sponsored a water stop last year and again for this year,” Ross says. “What differentiates them is that brothers Pete and Mike Laing have teamed up for the 15K/10K relay each year.”

 

Brothers Mike and Pete Laing at the finish of the Vineyard to Bay 25K in Suttons Bay. The brothers, who operate Big Little Wines and help sponsor the August race each year, also have completed the 25K relay together.

Brothers Mike and Pete Laing at the finish of the Vineyard to Bay 25K in Suttons Bay. The brothers, who operate Big LITTLE Wines and help sponsor the August race each year, also have completed the 25K relay together.

Pete Laing’s take on the race:
It’s as serious or laid back as you’d like it to be. It is a good group of people running in a beautiful setting.

What he likes best about it…
The course. It is varied terrain with some views of vineyards and the bay (obviously), but also rolling hills and beautiful orchards and farmland.

Tips for runners signing on for their first Vineyard to Bay…
While a lot of the race is on relatively flat land, there are a couple of hills. It wouldn’t hurt to drive the road portion beforehand so that you know what to expect.

Why it’s important for his business to be involved…
It’s important to be involved in the local community, and we love that our sponsor money goes to the volunteer groups who help out with the race. We are also very active people and are supportive of people getting out and staying healthy. Plus our winery is right on the route! And…Ross is awesome!

Sponsor/runner: Leif Sporck of Sporck Tile Art, which has been a sponsor all three years. Leif runs the 25K each year. “He’s the designer, producer of our very popular ceramic all-finishers awards for the 25K,” Ross says.

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Photo courtesy Sporck Tile Art.

Leif’s commitment to this race…

It is important for me to be involved in this race because it is helping my hometown of Suttons Bay. I am a runner, so it is a must to support local events for which I have an affinity, too. I am also the artist and craftsman who makes the medals for the race goers. This also make my involvement in the race pivotal for the acceptance of my work because runners get the chance to see me in flesh and blood and in action running, which is why we are all attending the event. It is very important for the craftsman and artist whose items were selected to represent the race to be present during an event. However, as my business grows, this might be difficult, but by this time people will understand who I am and the work.

Why this is such a cool race…

The event is a perfect distance for someone who does not want to run a marathon but wants to try to run a little further than a half marathon. And, it’s just a plain beautiful run. I have run every race so far and it’s a lot of fun. There are a couple big hills but the views are breathtaking and these are places where you will want to return to in your car or on foot. Definitely a unique challenge.

 

Runners at the Vineyard to Bay, showing off their tile art finisher medals. /Photo courtesy Vineyard to Bay 25K.

Runners at the Vineyard to Bay, showing off their tile art finisher medals. /Photo courtesy Vineyard to Bay 25K.

The V2B committee, as Ross describes it, “is really Nance [his wife] and I, a mom and pop operation.”

“She is instrumental in having this event go off as planned,” he says. “She is the volunteer coordinator and does a great job lining up all volunteer groups. Two weeks out her attention to detail is a savior for me. On event day, she covers the 5K registration table then heads down to the food tent, working nonstop until the final cleanup.

As for volunteers, Ross adds, “Nikki Hursey, a teacher/coach in Suttons Bay and Lorrie Seekamp, a mom of guys I coached at West, are troupers. Both go above and beyond what other adult volunteers do.”

Ready to experience the Vineyard to Bay with MRG? Learn even more about the race and get signed up here »

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