Round the Vines half marathon

Date: 20 March
Distance: 21.1 (20.4km with our GPS)
Time: 2:25.45
Previous: 2014, 2015

The Round the Vines saw its 21st running in 2016. And what a fantastic turnout (1500) for this amazing event. It is hard to believe that Martinborough, as such a small town, is able to put on such a mammoth size event. The organisers are doing something right! But who can fault this jolly-great-most-enjoyable event?

A few friends decided to join in the fun this year and we signed up as Team All Sorts. But truth be told, we never had a chance against all the other teams who went all out in the dress-up department. Instead of going all out and attempting a team win, we just wanted to have fun. And boy did we had fun! On the way down to Martinborough, we laughed so much, I didn’t think any of us needed running anymore to get our exercise done. The wee white one was merrily bouncing along to the sound of laughter drifting out into the hills as we followed the narrow road into wine country.

The Round the Vines is a charity event where all proceeds go to the local school. The wine farms around town chipped in by supplying wine at the drink stations. Yes, wine! You can still get “borehole sherry” if preferred, but I think it’s fair to say that most participants made use of the generous offer from the wine estates. In fact, I’ve seen a few participants all but staggering into the finish area a few hours after setting off. 🙂 I guess it’s fair to say that this is what it is all about – having loads of fun while getting a little tipsy in the process.

Most of the teams seemed to be doing the 10km walk, as this is where the bulk of the field lies. And, of course, if you want a team of four people to stick together, while being dressed up in anything from wedding dresses to superhero outfits, and still have a jollification, you have to go slow and preferably not too far.

Gerry and I needed the training, so we opted to do the 21km instead, as did the rest of our team. Being a double-lapper of the 10km course, rounding a few extra vine rows to make up the distance, you do catch up with the 10km walkers in the final kilometres, and I have to say, there were some fantastic costumes on display. Must make it hard for the organisers to choose winners.

Our team decided to do the first lap together after which we would split up and do our own thing. I felt bad to leave half of our team behind after the first lap, but we tried to get the benefit of doing back-to-back half marathons. Luckily, after the Taihape half the day before, and thanks to a very slow first half (1:24), I felt reasonably good. We could speed up a bit to do a negative split and cover the second round in about 1:02. Unfortunately, the marshal at the 10km event split, where we were supposed to do the extra plus-minus half kilometre to make up the distance, insisted that we go straight back. I tried to argue that we still had to do the extra loop, but he cut me off and we had no choice but to head straight back. That meant that the course was about half a kilometre short. Not that anybody was complaining at that point! 🙂

We stayed for prize-giving where it seems everybody have an equal opportunity to win something. Bibs were collected at the finish in a (very appropriate) wine barrel and randomly drawn. Some excellent prizes were up for grabs, so it’s worth taking the time to stay. Besides, the entertainment from all the musicians around the course and the band at the finish is not to be missed.

After a meal at one of the coffee shops around the town square, we headed back with equal amounts of laughter. Maybe we should consider entering Team Laughing Stock next year guys? What do you think?

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