DOBSON — Nearly 500 people have signed up to take part in an annual 5k and 10k runs which benefit area parks and recreation departments.
According to Surry County Parks and Recreation Director Daniel White, the annual Running the Vines event at Shelton Vineyards had already attracted 495 participants as of Monday afternoon.
He said the event, which started as only a 10k in 2011, saw participation from 234 runners in its first year. It has steadily grown throughout the course of the past five years, with this year’s numbers already surpassing those of years past. The addition of a 5k race has helped the race grow, but that’s not the only thing which has helped.
“I think word-of-mouth goes a long way in the racing community,” explained White. “The setting is gorgeous, and a lot of people have pitched in to make for a good, solid, quality race.”
White said this year the race has already drawn competitors from 11 states, with people traveling from Florida, Vermont and Illinois to attend.
The race begins at the Hampton Inn at Shelton Vineyards and travels in and out of the vineyard along area roads. The 5k and a 10k options are available to runners, while a half-mile fun run is free for those 12 and younger.
Race day includes much more, however, according to White. Those who choose to participate also get a ticket to two concerts at the vineyard. The first features The Mediocre Bad Guys directly following the race. The second will be a performance of the Embers, which begins at 6 p.m. and will last well into the night.
There’s still an opportunity to take part in the race. The cost to run in the 10k event is $35 and the cost to participate in the 5k is $30. Those younger than 18 pay $20 for either race.
Those looking to take part can register online at http://sheltonvineyards5kand10k.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=315 through Thursday. Race-day registration is from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hampton.
The 10k begins at 8 a.m. The 5k kicks off at 8:10 a.m., and the fun run starts at 9:30 a.m.
Proceeds from the race, which vary greatly from year to year, according to White, go toward supporting the programs the Mount Airy and Surry County Parks and Recreation Departments offer.
White said money raised goes into a gift-catalog program in his department. The funds are used to purchase items for Fisher River Park, to which the department then sells naming rights. Those funds are then put to use in one of the many programs the county department offers to residents.
That stated, White said the event offers benefits to the community which go far beyond helping parks and recreation in the county.
With an early morning start time and a full day of events, White said many runners who travel for the event will stay two nights in area hotels.
“It puts heads in beds and generates sales tax revenue,” said White. “People don’t just participate in this race and leave. They spend a whole day and often the entire weekend here in Surry County.”
White acknowledged Saturday’s run won’t be the only draw to the county this weekend. Elkin is hosting a wine festival and a mud run will take place in Pilot Mountain, along with the annual Farm Fest in Mount Airy.
“All of these things come together to provide a great economic benefit to the county,” said White.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.