The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon has always been one of my favorite races of all time. It was the first half I did after having my first child and is one I continue to do every year with my clients and friends. This year, in my quest to conquer the ultra world and with a 50K within a couple of weeks, I opted to do things a little less serious this year and run the relay version of the race.
The relay version of the Oregon Wine Country Half marathon is a two person event that splits the half marathon almost exactly in half. So, in order to do the relay, I had to convince my loving and sweet non-runner husband to do it with me. After a bit of pressure and bribery, I solidified our team as the Hasman Hustlers. We were going out there for fun and a way to bond over running and wine.
The day of the race arrived and we headed out to the gorgeous Stoller Winery along with our friends who were also doing the relay. Both teams were heading out there with the same strategy, let the husbands run first and the wives will finish the race. We pulled into the massive and breathtaking winery and dropped off the guys as they pinned their bibs on and walked to the to the tasting room area that overlooked the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley.
We continued on towards Carlton where we were to be picked up on a bus and taken to the mid-point of the race where we would be starting our run. Once at the mid-point, we didn’t have to wait long before we saw the lead man of the half marathon blazing by. It was incredible, fast and inspiring. I waited anxiously to see my husband in the distance and finally, within about 20 people, there he was. He blazed into the exchange point and I took off down the street. It was fun to be up with such fast runners, as to be running it for fun and no pressure for any time or anything. Anytime I saw a female half marathon runner I would cheer them on and let them know what place they were in and encourage them to power ahead and go after the next runners ahead. Usually, if I had been running the half marathon, I would be trying to stay on them and push ahead but the relay and the fun of it allows you to just go out and see the race in a whole new way. I really appreciated that.
The course took us on gorgeous winery highways before hitting a decent stretch of gravel, which was pretty difficult to run through, and then back to rolling hills. The race ends with a long gradual ascent up to the finish line which winds around and finishes in downtown Carlton.
The end of the race is the reason to the run the race – the after party is the best! There are tons and tons of local wineries pouring delicious Pinot Noirs and other delicious wines. Each winery was so friendly and excited to tell you about the different flavor profiles they offered. It was such a blast walking around, trying wine and saying hi to friends around the course.
This course is not only fun but beautiful and ends better than any other I have seen. I love this race and can’t wait to continue running it for years to come!