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Wine Country Half Marathons
What makes a Wine Country half marathon?
Destination Races puts on wine country half marathon races that are great for first time half marathon runners and seasoned racers alike. Just think about the characteristics of wine country: The terrain tends to be relatively flat and the scenery is almost always gorgeous. If those two things don’t make 13.1 miles speed past, I don’t know what will!
Truly, if you run only one half marathon in your life, try one from Destination Races. They are well organized, and because the race is just a half marathon — there’s no full marathon or 10K runners in the mix — the day and the event are all about you, the half marathoner.
Destination Races’ Wine Country Half Marathons started with three half marathons in California. First up is the Santa Barbara Wine Country half marathon that goes from Santa Ynez, through Los Olivos and ends in Solvang; it runs on the Saturday of Mothers Day weekend every May. The Napa to Sonoma half marathon runs in July from Domaine Carneros winery to Sonoma’s town square, and the Healdsburg Half Marathon, in Sonoma County, starts at the Copolla winery and ends in a park, and it is always the Saturday of Halloween weekend, the day before the New York City Marathon.
These three wine country half marathon races have proved so popular, attracting thousands of runners and regularly selling out each year, that the organizers have added new half marathon races in other wine regions, including Oregon over Labor Day and Virginia in early June.
After sweating it for 13 miles, all of these events end with a party, complete with music and wine tasting. The atmosphere is celebratory and electric! Few half marathons are FUN as well as an accomplishment, yet that's exactly what a wine country half marathon is.
I have known many people who have completed a wine country half marathon, and everybody I've spoken to raves about how fun the event is.
Why to do a Wine Country Half Marathon
One of the great things about the Wine Country Half Marathons I have run (I’ve done Healdsburg and Santa Barbara) is that they are just as competitive as you want them to be. Some people are going for a personal record time, and these courses are easy enough to make that do-able. Others are just hoping to finish. The field of runners runs the gamut from beginners to very experienced half marathoners, and everyone has fun, guaranteed.
These are professional races. They use state of the art electronic timing equipment. There are water stations every 1.5 miles to 2 miles, and several of those stations feature an energy drink to replace electrolytes and give runners a boost. There’s a smallish Expo the day before where runners can try out new sports-related products. And every runner who completes the race walks away with a technical running shirt and a heavy duty medal, honoring the achievement of the race.
And if you are ready to start sipping wine as soon as you’ve wiped the sweat from your brow, then you can buy a commemorative wine glass and head to the wine tasting pavilion, sampling the fruits of much of the beauty you have just run past. Most of the wine available comes from the region through which you have just run, giving the glass of wine an extra sweetness to savor! And each race is in a tourist destination, so wine country half marathons attract runners from all over the country.