Langley’s Jessie Vander Eyk was dressed as the Tinman, as part of Wizards of Wine. They were among more than a hundred runners in costume during the Campbell Valley Wine Run in South Langley Sunday. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Fun wine run drew record crowd for Langley charity

More than 350 people started their morning with a glass of wine and a run through rural Langley Sunday.

CLICK: To see more photos from the wine run

Tinman (a.k.a. Jessie Vander Eyk) swapped out her heart for a plastic wine glass and metal rivets with used corks in an effort to customize her wine-themed costume this year.

For the second year in a row, Vander Eyk and a fistful of Langley friends made up one of numerous running teams that participated in the Campbell Valley Wine Run on Sunday morning.

Despite the fact that they came in dead last in the 2016 run (when they were dressed up in Alice in Wonderland costumes), the friends were anxious to get back out there again this year, Vander Eyk said.

“We always have a great time and it’s for a great cause,” she added, “That’s what’s important.”

This year, the team decked out in Wizard of Oz-themed costumes, calling themselves Wizards of Wine.

Meagan Creighton was dressed as the Lion, Melissa Sayers portrayed Dorothy, Arleeta Reschke created a unique yellow-brick road costume, and Candice Clay was decked out as th scarecrow.

While Clay and Reschke have participated in past Sun Runs, and Sayers and Creighton both run regularly, Vander Eyk clarified she has no athletic aspirations.

“I just drink,” she said.

Almost half of the record 350-plus runners participating in the fifth annual Campbell Valley Wine Run, were in costumes – many of them wine-themed.

Patrick Murphy of Vista D’oro Farm & Winery, one of the event founders and organizers, said he was particularly impressed by the creativity obvious with many of this year’s outfits.

“In our fifth year now, we have surpassed 350 runners. All these runners are out to have a good time, a good social. The costumes this year are absolutely phenomenal,” he said, noting that local businesses came through with great prizes to further entice participation.

The run, hosted by local wineries, is a fundraiser for Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities (PRDA).

This year’s record number of runners translated to good news for the PRDA organization, which is dependent on fundraising for much of its operating budget, said executive director Michelle Ingall.

“This is our biggest [run] yet,” Ingall said. “This is going to gross us over $20,000 in profit, and this makes it our largest annual fundraiser.”

The South Langley centre provides therapeutic equestrian horse back riding and activities for children and adults with a wide range of challenges.

“This [run] is a wonderful opportunity for us to raise valuable funds to help support programs and our horses for [more than] 170 students that come each week,” Ingall said.

READ: Fun Langley run popping corks for equine therapy

Township Mayor Jack Froese was on hand to kick off the early morning five- and 15-km run with a toast.

“What a great day for a run,” he said, directing the cheering crowd – each armed with a glass of wine – to raise their glasses high.

“To great wine, great runs, and fantastic weather. Have fun. Cheers,” Froese said, his comments followed by mass clinking of wine glasses just moments before the runners downed the lubricant and hit the road – running.

As for Vander Eyk and her Wizard team, they didn’t finish last this time out – once again tackling the 15-km leg.

“We came in the middle for sure,” she said, clarifying that they all stuck together and “followed the yellow brick road to all the wineries.”

Admittedly, her Tinman costume proved a little unbearable when it actually came to running.

“I was a sweatball, for sure,” she said. “But, if I can do it, anyone can and I hope to see more people out next year supporting this great cause.”

Vander Eyk vowed the team will “be back next year, with another great idea for costumes.”

Not only were they drawn to participate as a way to help the “worthy” charity out, but they all love the atmosphere and attitude found on and off the road during this fun run, she said.

• Video to come

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More than 350 runners participated in the fifth annual Campbell Valley Wine Run in South Langley on Sunday morning. The run started and ended at Highpoint. It’s a fundraiser for the Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)