Runners had to pay either $10 for general parking at the Washington County Fairgrounds, or $20 VIP parking at St. Croix Vineyards. I chose general parking, which I paid for at packet pickup. From the fairgrounds, runners then took a shuttle to St. Croix Vineyards, about three miles away. Even though I had paid for my parking early, I still had to wait in the same line as the other cars, so the process was rather slow. I was glad to have arrived when I did because the line for parking only got longer!
Once at the vineyard, the location was small enough to easily find friends. Bag check went smoothly and the restroom lines went quickly; there seemed to be enough porta-potties for the number of runners.
The race itself started in three different waves, based on pace, with the fastest runners going first. I placed myself in the second wave, which was for those in the 10:00-12:00 minute per mile pace. The race started promptly, with approximately five minutes between waves.
The course itself was a combination of grass and dirt, as one could expect from a vineyard. We started out by winding through the apple trees, then through the grape vines, around the pumpkin field, and back across the lawn of the vineyard. While I knew that it would be an unpaved course from reading the emails and knowing what a vineyard typically looks like, many runners apparently did not know that it would be unpaved and therefore complained about it.
I expected a crowded course and a slow pace. While the course was narrow and crowded, runners did a nice job of staying to the side so faster runners could easily pass. I ended up running a faster pace than I expected. At the finish, we got to choose a class of white or red wine, and the adorable glass was ours to keep. My finishing time was 35:47.
At 7:00 pm, the 1k wine tasting walk started. Again, participants were released in waves. There were four stations, each of which had a single offering. Again, we got to keep the adorable wine glass at the end, meaning that those of us who did both the 5k and the 1k had two glasses to take home.
The wines I tried were: Seyval (white wine at 5k finish), Delaware (1st station of 1k), Frontenac Gris (2nd station of 1k), Frontenac Rose (3rd station of 1k), and Frontenac (4th station of 1k). All of the wines were fantastic and I ended up purchasing a bottle of the Delaware to take home. Since I’m in the area frequently, I’ll likely be stopping in for more of their wine in the future.
There were four food trucks at the venue to purchase food from. I had the Tot Nachos from Tot Boss and it was delicious. They had a long line most of the night (30-40 minute wait), but since I didn’t get dinner until after the 1k, my wait was only 20 minutes and worth it. There was also a fried rice truck, a pizza truck, and one that had Mediterranean cuisine.
The festivities also included a decent band and a few vendors, but really it was about having fun and drinking wine! I was fortunate enough to have several of my running ladies there to chat and laugh with. It was a nice evening and the weather was perfect! I would do this one again, but wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who is looking for a PR or wants to stay on pavement.