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Round the Vines making big comeback

The Round the Vines organising committee: Kate Paterson, Mike Sleyer [back], Ngahuia Barrs [front left], Katie Gunn, and Angela Sweeney. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

After two false starts in 2020, the 25th Martinborough Round the Vines fun run looks set to take off on Saturday.

On Wednesday afternoon Martinborough School library was a hive of activity as spot prizes, hampers, bottles of wine and more were being prepared for the big day.

The major annual fundraiser for the school was postponed in March and again in October 2020 due to covid-19.

Organisers Ngahuia Barrs and Angela Sweeney are keen to get the event under way.

“We are excited about getting it done,” Sweeney said.

“It’s a great sense of getting the community together.

“We just want to get it going. It’s been hanging over us for a year,” Sweeney said.

“In a good year around 1500 people would walk or run the course.”

Barrs said the popular event was sold out online, with no further tickets available there, but walk-ins would be available on the day.

The course goes through vineyards and weaves in and out along country roads.

“For a first timer, as you are going through the first part of the vines about two kilometers in, it is absolutely stunning,” Barrs said.

There is a 21km walk/run and shorter alternative 10km walk/run with participants encouraged to dress-up. Prizes for innovative gear are given on the day.

“The idea is fancy dress,” Sweeney said.

“One year a guy did the 21km course dressed as a banana. He was amazing,” she said.

Barrs said the most popular course was the 10km version.

“We get a lot of groups that walk together, dress up and have an absolute blast,” she said.

The event finishes at about 2pm at Martinborough Square with a prizegiving, music, and food.

Many make a weekend of it and stay until Sunday.

“This is our way of giving back to the community that support and sponsor us at,” Barrs said.

“It’s a fun community fundraising event for the school, you get to chat with your friends, maybe try some wine on the way through and if you like it you might pop into the Martinborough Hotel and have another glass later,” Sweeney said.

The event is fully organised by volunteers with Sweeney and Barrs joined on the organising committee by Kate Paterson, Katie Gunn, Mike Sleyer, Rachel Griffiths, and Viv Malneek.

On the day, about 100 others will help out.

School principal Craig Nelson couldn’t praise the organisers highly enough.

“These guys are absolutely amazing.

“It’s a volunteer role – it’s for the school. Their time, their energy, 18 months of planning. These guys have got halos,” he said.

There are five wine tasting stations dotted around the course, which will have small cups of a range of wines donated by the community. The stations will also have water, fruit, watermelon and sweets available – and a band or DJ.

In past years, close to $40,000 has been raised by the event.

The money raised goes towards big ticket items for the school unfunded by the government. Proceeds from 2019 went towards upgrading the senior playground. This year’s profits will help buy all-purpose turf for sports.

In addition to ticket sales the event is sponsored by businesses in the region and beyond including Palliser and Ata Rangi wineries, Wharekauhau, ThermaTech performance wear, Martinborough Vineyard, Dusty and Lulu design, Aspect Architecture and others.

Advice for participants is to arrive early for the 8am registration because there is no parking on Martinborough Square.

  • Full information for the event is at https://www.roundthevines.org.nz

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