This past Sunday marked the 21st Annual Marianne Talley Memorial Fun Run. With about 500 participants, including runners, walkers, volunteers, and sponsors, this is the single biggest annual event we host at the winery. My appreciation goes to Race Director Marian Fiorentino who organizes and orchestrates the whole thing. Along with our Cioppino Dinner, the Fun Run is one of two key fundraising activities for the Marianne Talley Foundation, which grants college scholarships to Arroyo Grande High School students. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $200,000 and supported the college education of 42 students.
The Fun Run has special meaning for me because it’s a way to celebrate my sister’s life that I know she would have enjoyed--she was an avid athlete who competed in sports throughout her life. It’s also a fitness motivator for me because, since the first year, we’ve given special t-shirts to everyone who beats me in the race. This year, 14 people “Beat the Vintner” and earned one of the coveted t-shirts. Overall winners were Audrey McClish and John Nichols in the 5K, Kara Thorne and Kevin Cooper in the 10K and Taylor Jones and Joshua Bell in the Youth Mile. Complete results, photos and video are available on the Marianne Talley Fun Run Page. (link)
As much as I enjoy the friendly competition, it’s really the sense of camaraderie and community I feel when everyone gathers to support a worthy cause, get some exercise and enjoy a beautiful morning that makes me feel good. I also feel inspired by people with physical challenges who come out and compete: people like four year old Trevor Bell who completed the mile run with his prosthetic leg and 10 year old Heaven Vallejo, who is blind, and ran the 5K with two guides assisting her every step of the way.
Next year’s fun run is already scheduled for Sunday, June 7. There’s something for everyone—a 5K, 10K, 1 mile walk and 1 mile youth run. For those of you who came out this year—come on back. If you haven’t participated before, I urge you to join us for a truly special day. Cheers!