A little under an hour from my home, tucked away in the town of Egg Harbor City lies a winery that hold a special in my heart: the historic Renault Winery.
Nearly 15 years ago my husband proposed marriage to me in the gourmet restaurant; We hosted our wedding in its banquet hall 13 years ago in May. We’ve been back many times since then for festivals, wine tours, dinners, and brunches.
But I’d never been there for a run before! When Chrissy (my long-time friend and running partner in crime) asked if I would be interested in doing the DQ Events Stomp the Grapes 5k at the Renault Winery, my immediate response was YES!
Chrissy and I have been on a bit of a training run hiatus for the summer months so I was really looking forward to meet up with her! As an added bonus, the Renault Winery is exactly the same travel distance for each of us, so it made perfect sense.
There was day of packet pickup which is always appreciated. We got our cotton t-shirts (originally the description said they were supposed to be tech t-shirts so we were a little disappointed with that change) and our race bibs.
We met up nearly an hour before the race began so we were able to take our sweet time and meander around the grounds for a bit.
It was great to take that hour to just nose around the area and catch up on each other’s lives. We wandered around, chatted with other runners, and eventually found our way to the starting area.
It was a chipped course but there was no mat at the start so your time began when the clock did. We lined up near the back of the 250 participants and waited for our instructions. We knew that the course was an out and back and it was mainly going to be on a dirt trail.
I haven’t participated in any 5ks recently so it was a nice change to get back to a shorter distance, especially in the hot summer months.
However, I will say that this course was no joke! The dirt trail was sand, rather than compact dirt, so each step was an effort that seemed to slog on longer than it should. The humidity didn’t help either and while the trees gave us nice shade, the air was soupy.
I was a little disappointed because while the run takes place on the Renault Winery grounds, I thought we might be running a bit closer to the vineyards. This course didn’t have much of a winery feel. How can I stomp the grapes if I’m not near any grapes?
The volunteers along the course were great and we made friends while we were running with people keeping the same pace as us. We pushed along, walking for little spurts but mostly running and reminding ourselves that it would be over quickly and then we’d be getting our reward of wine!
There were 3 wine choices and both Chrissy and I went with the Pink Lady. It was refreshing after a hot run! And we also got a chance to go back to the gift shop once it opened. For the record, I got Blueberry Champagne, a favorite among the wedding buddies back then and now!
I’m already counting the days until Chrissy and I start our weekly training runs in Atlantic City again in the fall! I’ve missed this girl like crazy!