The atmosphere of Saturday’s Round Peak Vineyard 5K Vineyard Stomp was best summed up in the words of one runner who crossed the finish line and told Race Director Ken Gulaian “This sure is a lovely vineyard you folks have here.”
According to Gulaian, the Vineyard Stomp is a four race-series for runners of all abilities and levels. These cross country races are entirely on dirt or grass trails that lead around and through a vineyard. He said each of the four races is about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) in length. Because the races are held on operating vineyards, the terrain is varied and can include hills, trails, and uneven surfaces making it both challenging and fun.
One cornerstone of the series is each participating vineyard can choose the local charity it will give proceeds to. Round Peak’s event will benefit The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.
“We have been involved with Round Peak since the first race,” said Museum Executive Director Matthew Edwards. “It’s been a great long-term partnership for us and it happens at a good time during our operational cycle to help us keep the doors open and the lights on. It really helps us close out our season with a bang.”
Edwards said he has really been impressed since moving to Mount Airy with how the community supports and promotes physical fitness. He said the museum also supports this with projects such as the geocaching hunts made possible by Reeves Community Center and The Kids In Parks program.
“Kids get to get out of the house and it is also educational,” said Edwards. “They get to learn local history on the hunts so it’s a win-win-win proposition.”
Gulaian praised the museum for providing volunteers who helped with the event as well as Lowes Foods, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Pine State Marketing and Papa Johns for helping to support the event.
“We started this series last year with an average of 70 runners for each event,” said Gulaian. “This year I’d say we have averaged more than 120 for each run. This is some nice growth. Each run does it for their own charity and we look to be able to split the $2,000 we have earned this year among the four charities. The museum is a good cause. I like that we can choose what we contribute to.”
He said he feels the growth of the event is due to the unique character of the courses in the vineyards such as the one he and his wife, Kari Heerdt, own and operate. The other races are held at Stony Knoll of Dobson, Olde Mill in Mount Airy and Grassy Creek in Elkin.
“We’re getting new runners as well. Offering off-road races like this is a different experience for runners,” said Gulaian. “That’s what we were aiming for from the beginning. This a a fun race to do and we hope to grow it every year.”
Mark Carbone of Charlotte won overall honors, setting a new course record at 20 minutes even. Results in female age groups was not available Saturday night. Overall winners in the series were Andrew Howard in the men’s division and Katrina Hall in the women’s division.
Lucas Keller was first in the 20-years and under with at time of 37:38. Eric Schneider was first in the age 21-30 group with a time of 25:16. Anthony Francis was second with 27:14 and Peter Dombrowski was third with 31:58.
In the age group 31-40 Jay Morphis was first with a 22:03, Michael Keller was second with a time of 23:26 and Todd Breece finished third with a time of 24:35. In the male, 41-5o-years group, Wayne Middlestadt was first with a time of 22:29. Carl Foulks finished second with a time of 25:20 and Ken Gulaian was third with a time of 25:38.
Greg Joyner was first in the 51-60-year old group with a time of 28:41. David Murphy was second with a time of 29:43 and Douglas Hall finished third with 31:00. In the 61-years and over male division, Douglas Brunner topped the field with a time of 29:00, Gary Butts was second with 31:48 and William Gatewood was third with a time of 35:42.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 336-719-1952.