Running Between the Vines 2022 Sustainability Report

Wine in the morning isn’t the most usual thing, but toss in some running, food, and live jazz, and you get Running Between the Vines, which took place as usual at Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson, MI. This event is always a challenge for the Green Team, with the need for stations in several distinct areas and a very busy party area.

Rare for this race, it didn’t rain, and the temperature stayed under 90 degrees, so we had happy runners and a well-attended afterparty featuring samples of hummus, Zingerman’s bread and olive oil, Mindo chocolate, and, of course, wine tastings.

He has to run but can’t have any wine afterward. Yeah, I’d look a little disgruntled, too.

We set up three Zero Waste stations. The first was next to the porta-potties and was staffed until the races started, then unattended until takedown. The second was near the registration tent and on the way to the party area. The main station was in the party area.

Last year the Green Team really struggled to stay on top of things in the party area for two big reasons – mixed compostable and regular plastic cups (three of each type), and “rogue” trash cans that filled quickly with all sorts of things covered in oil. To fix that, RF Events made sure everything was compostable, and we put All Waste boxes at the wine tasting and food tables, and swapped them out as they got full. The staff and the Zero Waste team all agreed it was a great improvement.

We also had a great team, with intern Grace and volunteer Sue doing a great job holding down the stations while I served as “rover,” swapping out boxes and checking on the unattended station.

We took the collected cardboard to WWRA, then returned to break down the stations. Thanks to the finish line team for breaking it down and stacking it next to the trailer for easy weighing and transport! And we recycled 14 cases of empty wine bottles (which came out to over 150 lbs.), and the corks, too.

One fun extra thing happened at this event: My cousin Robin is visiting from Colorado. I told her about the event and she promptly signed up for the half marathon. So I followed suit but as I had to work the event, I settled for the five-miler. Result? She came in second and then helped out at the Zero Waste Station. Ain’t she great?

And me? Somehow I managed to come in third overall in the five-miler. So here we are on the podium showing off a little.

But the real thing to brag about was the result – less than two pounds of landfill, and another 99+ percent landfill diversion rate. I think that’s worth a glass of wine.

P.S. The “Run Now, Wine Later” photo is from 2014, but it’s worth using again.

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