The start of August is always a little bittersweet for me. With just one month before school starts, I can’t help feeling we haven’t had enough summer. How did July speed by so fast anyway — wasn’t it just the Fourth? And yet, plenty of time remains to savor the moments before cooler weather returns. Let’s just hope Mother Nature cooperates and gives us more steamy days than feels-like-fall ones. (And no more stormy days like the one we had yesterday, please – rainstorms, fine. Hail and damaging winds, no.)

One way we’ll be making the most of August is with running the second annual Vineyard to Bay races on Sunday, Aug. 23. This event, held near Suttons Bay, just north of Traverse City, features a 25K, 25K relay (15K/10K), and 5K. The plan is for Andrew and me to run the relay — I’ll take on the 15K while he runs the 10K portion — while the rest of the family runs the 5K.

WINE BOTTLE LABEL FINAL.pngIf you missed the first post about this race on MRG, click here to read it. In today’s post, you’ll hear directly from runner Ross Deye, who shares what he’s learned as the race director and how this year’s event is shaping up. (And be sure to read to the end to grab the special MRG race discount code.)

Here’s more from Ross, in his own words:

What I’ve learned…

One of the most important lessons learned from being the race director of last year’s inaugural Vineyard to Bay event was just how much I’ve been out of touch with road racing. While I’ve run over 100 races over the years, almost all were more than 30 years ago. My focus in recent years has been on coaching high school cross country in the fall and track in the spring. My goal for 2015 was to get out and participate in a number of races, see what others were doing, and improve on what could be done to make the Vineyard to Bay event better.

The start line of the 25K and relay.
The start line of the 25K and relay.

Luckily, there were numerous events to choose from in the Traverse City area. My races included the Leapin’ Leprechaun in March, Traverse City Trail Running Festival 10K in April, Run The Ridge 10K Relay in May, both the M22 Challenge and Glen Arbor Solstice 5K
in June, and the National Cherry Festival 15K and Fishtown 5K in July. Between participating in those, catching the Glass City Marathon in Toledo and volunteering for the Bayshore races, I feel more up to speed on what today’s participants expect. The end result is event-themed bib numbers, improved awards, more music on the course and finish, a healthier selection of post-race food and a course that is 1.) an accurate distance and 2.) more precisely timed.

How things are coming along with this year’s event…

Meeting with representatives from the Leelanau County sheriff’s department, road commission, and EMS could not have gone smoother. They assured me last year that each proceeding year would be easier to manage and this has been the case. Minor adjustments with the stationing of volunteers and sheriff’s personnel due to the changing of the finish area were made and we are set to put on another safe event. Progress has also been made in course certification and the fun stuff like the arrival of wine glass awards. It’s an exciting challenge as a race director to put it all together, especially since the race committee is pretty much made up of me and my wife, Nance.

Pleasant Surprises…

Working with Nance should not come as a surprise since we’ve been married 21 years, but her ability to focus on the task at hand has saved me numerous hours of floundering. We have our own separate responsibilities, so to be able to work together on this event, not to mention running the Run the Ridge Relay together, has been a pleasant surprise. I’ve also reconnected with so many individuals with whom I’ve coached in the past and it’s great to be able to learn what they are doing with their lives. One such individual, Robb Dorf, who I coached in the mid-80s, owns PureFit, a nutrition bar company. I’m pleased to have him as one of our new sponsors for this year. The willingness of local sponsors and volunteers to support our event has been great and is a reflection of the community we live in. Finally, the breakdown of who is preregistered in each event is better this year. While 50% are entered in the 25K, the relay and 5K are evenly split with the remaining 50%. Last year’s relay option did not materialize as I had hoped, but this year, it is a popular choice.

Ross and Nance on a hike in Vegas.
Ross and Nance on a hike in Vegas.

Why I think Vineyard to Bay is different from other races…

Offering a point to point course for all four distances of races separates the Vineyard to Bay event from 90% of all other races. Point to points are logistically more challenging and with busing a bit more expensive to pull off, but it is outweighed by what I feel is a better running experience. Always a change of scenery — from roads to the trail, from vineyards or orchards to the bay, there is a lot to take in.

There’s still time to sign on for this race, and to receive a special reader discount. Use the code MRG4V2B when registering to receive 10% off your race entry. This offer is good until Aug. 21.

See you there!

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