“Those Hills”: A Run Oregon review of the 2017 Fueled by Fine Wine Half

I had the opportunity to run the Fueled by Fine Wine half marathon in Dundee, OR on July 9th and if you’re a regular reader of Run Oregon, you know we’re big fans of this race. It’s a great event with spectacular views, a demanding (and ever changing) course, and a sweet after party. This event is really one for the books.

I am a trail runner through and through, which means I typically gravitate to the woods, to the mountains, and to small-time races. I walked up to this race feeling out of my element, as almost 1,000 runners gathered in this small park, but I was excited about the challenge. I had been hemming and hawing about bringing my own hydration and my friend encouraged me: “You may benefit from it. Those hills...”

I have my own hill challenge on my schedule in August, so I’ve been filling my weekends with power hiking and my weeknights with hill repeats. I brushed off his comment, feeling full of myself. Before I even hit mile 5, his words were on loop in my brain. “Those hills“. Indeed.

As I’m sure you’ve all been feeling, it’s been a warm summer in Oregon already! The race started at 7 AM from a park in Dundee and it warmed up quickly, as we immediately ran up a pretty good incline. Running through vineyards is not exactly shady, so the sections of road in the trees were coveted.

The first aid station was right at mile one and I zipped by. There was plenty of aid throughout the entire course (as well as port-a-potty access), with water, electrolyte drinks, Hammer gels, and at one point I saw some gummy worms and Reese’s peanut butter cups! The volunteers were all so happy, helpful, and encouraging and I wish I could thank them all personally.

We ran quite a bit on paved roads, which was a nice way to make up some time. Though the hills never quite let up, it’s much easier running on pavement than through lumpy grass amongst the grapes! Mt. Hood and (I believe) Mt. Jefferson watched us all morning long. When the downhills arrived, I greeted them with gusto! Arms outstretched like a 5-year old, I sprinted down (while secretly hoping I wouldn’t crash and burn).

Perhaps my favorite part of the run was at the Lange Estates Winery. We just ran up a grueling hill and came into their aid station, where they had a sprinkler running! I wasn’t the only one who lingered under that puppy! It was a refreshing way to gear up for the hill ahead: 10% grade!

This was the last of the major climbs (this was from mile 8-9, approximately) and we were generously met with another aid station and a sight for sore eyes:

The sign was a bit premature, as we had a few little climbs to make yet, but essentially, it was time to pick up the pace. The race ended on a downhill, so I mustered a sprint finish, grabbed a bottle of water, and headed toward the shady grass. I was impressed – it was a great event. The food at the finish line had all the things I was craving: bagels (with your choice of Nutella, peanut butter, or cream cheese), bananas, clementines, cookies, string cheese, etc. The music was bumping, the wine tasting was in full swing, and it was a beautiful day.

I took a few minutes to open up my swag bag, since I didn’t give myself much time at the start (the port-a-potty line was 13.1 miles long, I think). I was pleased that the swag came in a small reusable shopping bag, rather than a plastic bag. My shirt was a cotton t-shirt, which is rare in race-land, and the medals were beautifully detailed. My wine glass sings with the best of ’em, and I look forward to using my many free wine tastings coming up!

Another year and another successful Fueled by Fine Wine half marathon. Congrats to all my fellow finishers! Full race results are available here.

Run it in 2018! Sign up here!

2017 FBFW Half

About Bobi Jo (241 Articles)
Bobi Jo has lived all over the midwest but moved to Portland in 2007 and now calls it home. She started casually running in 2012 and trained up for the "Run Like A Mother" 5k as her first proper event. She got a taste of the runner's high and is now a veteran ultrarunner. While running is her favorite sport, she is a "Jill of all trades, master of none" - her other hobbies include rock climbing, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and traveling the world. On her elusive rest days, she is an avid bookworm and a Green Bay Packers fan.
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