What is the proper reward for running a half marathon that gains 900 ft of elevation in the first 5 or so miles and then proceeds to decline said 800 feet all in the last 2 miles of the race? The answer is wine. And not just any wine, but world class pinot noir from Oregon’s Dundee hills wine AVA. Yes, only that wine will due.
I have done this run 3 out of the past 5 years. I missed a few due to scheduling conflicts in the past few years, but when given the opportunity I go up to my old stomping grounds for this race. Located approximately 30 minutes from Portland, this is beautiful and charming wine country. As a rule the race falls on 2nd Sunday of July which circumducts my birthday. For my birthday I enjoy a healthy dose of hill climbing and celebratory wine, so this works out beautifully for me.
Prior to running it for the first time in 2011, I read about this race in Runner’s World. It was featured in June, and I was already registered. The writer indicated that this was possibly the hardest half marathon that he had ever done. I callously thought him to be whining, but it turns out that he was right, this is a challenging course, but the views are well worth it. The race course traverses pavement, gravel country roads, silt, and travels directly through the vines of a few choice wineries.
The finish line brings you a medal, a commemorative pinot noir wine glass, and approximately 22 of the area’s many wineries all pouring their wines. With race registration comes the opportunity to pay extra for end of race party entry for your friends and family who have come to support you. They receive their own glass and get to enjoy watching you hobble around tasting wine after having wasted your legs on the hills- pure entertainment for all!
Place this run on your bucket list, it is worth the travel. The neighboring towns of Newberg, Dundee, McMinnville, and Tualatin have accomodations ranging from budget friendly, B&B, and beautiful spa inns such as the Allison Inn. This race is a must for wine-loving runners who embrace challenges.
Make your day great!