Two alcohol-fuelled races in the space of a week! Though, to be fair, the Wine Run is less of a race, more of a social event. This was its second staging, the inaugural event having taken place at the same time last year. It is over a ‘generous’ 5k course, involving 5 laps around the lake at Croft Farm Waterpark, outside Tewkesbury. At the end of each lap, one may help oneself to the drinks on offer at the wine station.
The event raises funds for LINC (leukaemia and intensive chemotherapy fund) and is organised by a leukaemia patient. As well as the run – in which fancy dress is highly encouraged! – there is food and a disco laid on afterwards. The Waterpark is also a camp site so one may simply leave the car, enjoy a few drinks and stay overnight. The raffle has some very good prizes, including a GPS watch, gym membership and various other forms of alcohol.
I was enlisted to help out with on-the-day setting up which generally consisted of moving things around. Two cars were filled with goody bags, medals, raffle prizes, signs, etc and we made our way to the venue where we unloaded them and started setting up the course. We had given ourselves plenty of time and were ready to go well ahead of the 3pm time for opening of registration (the run itself due to start at 5pm).
A few of us went for what we deemed a well-earned pre-run drink. Or two. Having passed some spare time in that fashion I collected my gear and changed. My costume did involve a bit of squeezing into and some of the accessories fell off and had to be replaced. By the time I was done, the venue was full and the fancy dress judging well underway. There was a good variety of outfits, team prize split between ladies dressed as wine bottles and ladies riding inflatable unicorns. Wonderful.
Race briefing given, we made our way to the start – conveniently, where the wine station was located. Glass at least partly filled (I didn’t want to spill it whilst jogging!), I set off with the crowd for the first of the laps. Some time was spent running, some sharing pleasantries, some sharing selfies, some at a walk in order to take the odd sip.
There were a few marshals out on course so we asked what preference they had, promising to deliver wine on the following lap. As a bonus, the sweeper, Cos, was travelling in the opposite direction loaded with beverage, a mobile somellier. There was also a good dose of vocal support, both from campers and from those who had simply come along to spectate.
I topped up midway through the lap, courtesy of Cos, before taking an ‘order’ for rosé from a marshal. Completing the lap, I took both rosé and red (for me!) and made my way onwards. Jogging with two glasses is a bit more of a challenge in terms of minimising spillage; I was aware that I had been using the one hand as a form of counterbalance.
Fortunately I managed to deliver the requested drink largely intact and continued on, again topping up from the mobile wine dispenser. I continued the run much in this fashion: saying hello to those passing me and those I was passing, sipping away, topping up where the opportunity presented itself, delivering when required. I did, at one point, feel the wine starting to repeat on me a little, but that passed.
Before I knew it, people were starting to clear the course. I’d been enjoying the atmosphere so much that I’d continued well beyond the five laps – as far as I was concerned, whilst people were still going around and wine was still being served, I was still jogging! Making my final delivery to a marshal, I continued to what would be the finish.
At the finish I collected the goody bag and received a medal, in the form of a bottle opener / corkscrew (last year’s was a telescopic glass) before catching up with others in the café / bar where the disco was in place. Food was being served and the bar itself was being kept busy!
Several of us partied the evening away, before I finally – and quite merrily – made my way to the tent that I’d pitched earlier, settled into my sleeping bag and drifted into oblivion. During the night I needed to relieve myself but was unable to unzip the tent door fully, the zipper seemingly snagging. I had to climb through the small gap that was available, which may well have looked quite entertaining, had there been any witnesses.
Walking up the next morning, I was made aware of the extent of my previous evening’s tipsiness: the door zipper was just fine; I had inadvertently unzipped a small vent within the door and climbed through that during the night!