Run Oregon checks in from the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon Pre-Race Dinner


The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon isn’t just a race, it’s an experience. Even though I am a local Oregonian, I don’t get out to Oregon’s beautiful wine country as often as I should. I forget that there are such spectacular views and fantastic wine almost in my own backyard. Besides the wine tasting available at the end of the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, Destination Races offered a Pre-Race Dinner with some generous pours.

This year the Pre-Race Dinner was held at the Sokol Blosser Winery in Dayton. This winery is beautiful and the views are incredible. Held the Friday night before the Oregon Wine County Half, it was a great opportunity to do some wine tasting, fuel for the race and meet runners from all over the country.

I love supporting local businesses and believe that buying local is not only great for our economy, but for our environment. Fortunately, Sokol Blosser is local and known for their world-class Pinot Noir. Prior to our dinner, there was a wine tasting with a couple of Sokol Blosser wines and traditional wine tasting faire. I’m not a meat lover, but I think any cheese goes with pretty much every wine, including the options offered at the Pre-Race Dinner. The architecture at Sokol Blosser is modern and I could spend hours just admiring it, let alone the views of the vineyards. We spent a little too long in the tasting room, chatting with new friends as tables had filled up in the dining area. There were still chairs available, we just had to make new friends.

It was an intimate dinner, about ten tables and the room was buzzing from the chatter. I quickly decided that the company was even better than the wine and I loved the wine. It was fun meeting other runners and chatting with them in such a beautiful setting. I met a fellow runner/blogger from as close as McMinnville and runners who traveled to Oregon from Utah, Texas and Maryland. It was fun hearing about other race experiences from around the country and sharing information. I love meeting new people, and of course discussing one of my passions, running. Everyone has different experiences as a runner I loved to hear the reasons they picked the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon.

Dinner was what you would expect for a pre-race meal with two types of pasta, chicken and, of course, Sokol Blosser wine. One of the pasta dishes had a traditional marinara sauce and the other had a nettle pesto. I smiled as one of the ladies from Baltimore asked what a ‘nettle’ was, thinking it was totally Portland. While I would have liked a salad or some veggies with the meal, it was the type of meal that most runners look for in a pre-race meal – plenty of carbs and protein. Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon Race Director, Matt Dockstader, had some words of encouragement as well as some fun stories from past races. I loved everything about the Pre-Race Dinner, from the drive up to the top of the vineyard to the piece of chocolate cake for dessert. The wine was great and the views were spectacular, but still my favorite part was the fun conversations with runners from all over the country. Limited to 80 runners, this Pre-Race Dinner is definitely a great way for both local and destination runners to enjoy some of the beauty of Oregon. It had some great wine and even better company and was a fun way to fuel for what is becoming one of my favorite Half-Marathons.

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