We’re never quite ready to say goodbye to summer. That’s why this race, the Vineyard to Bay 15K & 5K, is such a great tradition. Let’s all extend our summer just a little while longer…with a super fun and runner-friendly race in a really beautiful area.
The Vineyard to Bay 15K & 5K is set for Sunday, Sept. 2, over Labor Day weekend, on the Leelanau Peninsula. The 15K is a beautiful point-to-point course starting at Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill Vineyards and finishing at West Bay Shore Village. The 5K also is a point-to-point course that starts at L Mawby Vineyard and shares the same finish as the 15K.
Here’s why we think you should sign on…
- The (healthy) celebration of summer’s end. A last hurrah to the season that provides so many exciting opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, Labor Day Weekend is a perfect time to get one more summer race in before a new school year begins.
- The hard cider aid station and post-run wine tasting. What better way to taste what the Leelanau Peninsula has to offer in the way of local apples and grapes than a sampling of cider on the last descent of your run, or the sampling of local wine to celebrate the completion of your race. The hard cider aid station is aptly called “It’s All Downhill from Here” — because it is just that! — located on the final descent, about 600 meters from the finish line. Sample yummy cider from Suttons Bay Ciders (and check out their tasting room during your stay for awesome views of Grand Traverse Bay). At the finish: wine tasting for all participants 21 and over. Just show your bib for a 2-ounce sampling of Big Little Wine at a table set up next to the food tent during the post-race festivities.
- The volunteers. Consistency in having groups return year after year, combined with the enthusiasm they provide the participants, is an integral part of any race’s success. Local school groups step up to the plate year after year to support the event and help raise money for their upcoming school year activities.
- The organizers. You have to love races put on by other runners. Ross and Nance are both avid runners who support their local running club and local races. They know the little things participants want in a running event as well as the little things (like long lines to the portable toilets) that runners don’t want.
- Keeping it local. Late summer in Leelanau County means fresh peaches and apples, both provided at the post-race food table along with other local food. Then there’s T-shirts designed by local artist Kat Dakota and a commitment by race organizers to ensure as much of their business is done with local businesses as possible.
6.) So.Much.Bling. Sporck TileArt provides ceramic tile awards to all finishers in the 15K and top 80 in the 5K. There’s also cash awards for overall, masters, and grand masters in both the 15K and 5K, as well as age group medals. Everyone who finishers either race received a medal.
7.) The Course. When you start alongside vineyards teeming with late-season grapes, it’s difficult to leave once the gun goes off. But the beautiful Leelanau Trail awaits, taking you on a rolling journey past cherry and apple orchards, numerous vineyards, and a final half-mile descent overlooking Grand Traverse Bay that will leave you spellbound.
8.) The Cause. This event has raised more than $14,000 for TART Trails and local school groups. All proceeds from the event go toward these two worthy causes.