Saturday, August 30, 2014

Farm to Fork 5K at the NCRS

So today was the first annual Farm to Fork charity 5K run/walk held at the NCRS.  It was to raise money for the Greater Lansing Food Bank.  Well it was a big success before the starting gun even sounded.  Between the sponsors and the more than 300 participants, some $20,000 was raised.  Not bad for a Saturday morning on a Labor Day weekend no less.  The Liquid ringleader was Eustaquia who spearheaded this event.  Here she is with the course map.  I will take credit for course layout.  I used our GPS equipment to make it an even 5K.  The challenge was getting a course to start and end at the same place.  But it all worked out for a scenic tour of Farms 3, 2, 1 and 5.
All of the many volunteers showed up at 6:30 this morning.  There were young and old who gave up a Saturday morning to help, and not just Liquid employees either.  And look who else showed up: Farm Guy!  Notice the cool shirt that was worn by runners and volunteers alike.
 Here is the shirt front.  It must have been a lot of work to run each shirt through a typewriter.
 And on the back is a list of all of the sponsors.  What a big list of generous donors.  Thanks.
There were over 300 participants plus supporters roaming around after getting registered and filled up on the pre-race breakfast.
 One of the walkers is NCRS Researcher Stephanie and her three kids here.  Husband Ryan was getting his race shirt on and another donut after he realized that a 5K is over 3 miles.  Darn metrics anyway.
Galynn makes important pre-race announcements.  Unfortunately his bright yellow wrap must have scared everyone away.  Darn Sooners anyway.
And they're off at exactly 8 am.  A perfect morning, sunny and 70 degrees.
 There is quite a trail of runners and walkers hitting the NCRS course.
I had the pleasure of driving the lead Gator, which I found to be far preferable to actually running. Margie from the office rode with me and took pictures. The leader from the start was Eric, who used to work at the NCRS years ago when he was in High School. He was an outstanding track star back then too, and has kept running now as a 25 year old CPA in Grand Rapids.  He lived a couple miles from the NCRS and used to run to and from work.  I had to keep the Gator at high speed so he wouldn't pass me.  Here they run on the North end of Farm 3 where we have cover crop planted after winter wheat.
And who should be out offering encouragement but Farm Guy.  He brought his John Deere 60 to get around the course to keep everyone motivated.
Here is a group of the walking corps making their way down Farm 2.  That's Ryan with son Gabe on his shoulders.  Stephanie told him it was a farm tour, so he came in jeans and field boots ready to check crops.  He was disappointed that no one had lenses or shovels for some crop scouting.
Eric left the rest behind as he crossed the finish line in 18:19, which was two minutes ahead of second place.  Not bad for a trail race through fields and grass.  I also think his having worked here for several years and being familiar with the farms was an advantage.  
Back on the course we see Nick's wife Andrea giving Levi and little Ruby a ride while David keeps pace.  It's hard enough pushing one kid in a stroller in grass, so two makes her do extra work.  But she's smiling like a good mother and walker.
Hey, wrong way!  Oh that's Eric running back on the course to meet up with others.  Or maybe he's trying to win first and second place.
Running back on Farm 5.  Less than 1K to go now.
On the other end of Farm 5 we see Mrs. Wilhm and Mrs. Zelinko.  No telling what they're talking about. Either corn fertilizers or their wacky husbands.
 March on brave citizens.
OMG!  It's Farm Guy and Troy's wife Jill!  I hope Troy doesn't find out.  Where is he anyway?  I haven't seen him all morning.
And wouldn't you know that no sooner had the race ended that it started raining.  Eustaquia made sure all of the loose ends were covered, including the weather.
What a great success, especially for the first one of these.  I guess that means that there will likely be a second annual.  Whenever that is, come on out.  It's for a great cause.  And of course, fun will ensue.