We all run for different reasons, and have different standards for what we consider fun. The venue had ‘hill’ in the name, as did the road it was located on, so there was no question as to what would be involved at this particular event. Hills are not for everyone, but a good downhill is a natural speed enhancer! Level ground was a rarity on this course as it seems that almost the entire time it was an incline or decline. The view was incomparable as we went around and through the vineyard at Winters Hill.
In spite of the location’s proximity to me and my perusing a map of the area, I still managed to miss the second to last turn on the way here. After a quick recon, we got back on track and returned the right way. We crested a large hill and traveled a short gravel road to the winery, rewarded with the above view. Check in was quick and painless and I ran into the esteemed Joe Dudman for a quick chat. Seeing as he was in the 5K, and this was a loop course, I was hoping to keep him company in the beginning, but they were to start a few minutes after.
The course had many turns, but was marked liberally with white arrows. I did manage to miss one, but luckily there was a person to send me back before I got too far, and I saw the arrows I had missed the first time. The first section was in a forested area, with sweeping turns. The shade was definitely appreciated, and shortlived. Most of the vineyard area was on the border, and exposed. It truly felt like we spent the entire time climbing or falling. The last section was a long climb around a field, then we finished on the gravel road back to the winery parking lot.
I had come into this expecting to run smoothly and with moderate effort. That plan went right out the window as I felt good and decided to put out race effort. Every uphill was a reason to lean forward and push, every downhill an invitation to just open up the stride and let gravity take over. I am fairly certain I ran positive splits as the second loop was definitely a bit more painful. I flew around many of the turns, slipping at times on the hay and dirt, trying to stay on the trail. It took a lot of effort to watch the footing and measure the effort with the terrain.
Entry included a food voucher, and I won a bottle of wine for winning the event. Like many other small races, the atmosphere was very friendly and open. The one water station was very well placed, as I passed it four times. The course was marked very well, and though it was difficult in terms of the footing and terrain, I found it very fun. I found no fault with this event and hope to return next year.