For the people gathered at Extra Mile Fitness Company for tonight’s Fun Run, running is more than exercise. It is a social event complete with good news and sweet wine.
Registration began at a quarter to six on Thursday, right outside the Extra Mile building. Participants lined up at the Running Vines tent to get their run numbers and raffle tickets. They shared stories, catching up with the rest of the group. Some participants were even visiting Valpo from Illinois, just to get in on the fun.
“It’s a social event,” said Todd Henderlong of Extra Mile. “Sure it’s fitness, it’s health. But it’s easier and fun when you are running with others.”
Todd and his wife Heather do a series of runs for their company’s running group but anyone can join in on the festivities. They do it “to give people the opportunity to come out and run. No competition, no pressure. Just run.”
Most of the fun runs are cooperative events, hosted with other local companies like Wings Etc. and Indiana Beverage.
Tonight they partnered with Running Vines Winery.
The fun run included a grape smashing kiddie pool and a wine tasting after the race. Running Vines owner Nicole Caylor has been friends with the Henderlongs for a long time and shares their most obvious hobby: running. It made perfect sense to do an event like this together.
“Heather is a great person and good at getting involved.” said Caylor. “I like to incorporate my passion for running with the winery. It’s all about balance.”
Todd and Heather love to support local economy in their personal lives as well as in business. They shop and eat at local venues. They, and Nicole, are making this fun run a community affair.
“We’re keeping it local,” says Heather.
On top of everything else this event did to unite the runners with the community, Running Vines is also donating ten percent of the night’s wine sales to the Indiana State Police to purchase vests for the Police Dogs that recently graduated.
So everything about the Fun Run has a personal touch. Even for the runners. For Jeanne Starrick this “will be my inaugural run back into running.”
She had been resting up all year after a bad break in her ankle took her out of the hobby.
No one said it better than Extra Mile employee Kevin Mangel, though, who has been with the store since it opened.
“With all the summer events and the regular people running and the new people, it’s so nice to see such a prevalent running community.”