Nothing beats a sunrise in wine country!
On Sunday, September 4th I participated in the 2016 Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon hosted by Destination Races. It was my first "Destination Race," and the first time I had really traveled farther than Vancouver for a run. Kelowna is known for being a summer getaway place, and the region is known for it's wine. So, what better than combining two of my favourite things - running and wine - and making a half marathon event out of it? Yep, I'm in!
The race started at 7am from the Vibrant Vine winery. It was a smaller race with less than 800 participants, which was perfect. Some big city races can be SO crowded and overwhelming, but the atmosphere here on race day was comfortable and relaxed. Maybe everyone had been sippin' wine before the race, hey? Wait until we cross the finish line!
The winey itself lives up to it's name, as it certainly is vibrant! Inside it was so colourful with lots of artwork on the walls, and the outside was fun and inviting as well. If you are in the Kelowna area, I highly recommend checking it out!
A snap of the start line early in the morning. The calm before the storm, as they say.
The run itself was both hard and fun. I say it was hard because there were SO many hills. If you have ran the Seawheeze before, think those hills but longer and more frequent. Yeah, my legs are still hurting today from it! All hills aside, though, the downhills were much appreciated and the course was SO scenic. Living on Vancouver Island is pretty much as good as it gets, but running in a new area made me appreciate all the sights and surroundings that Kelowna has to offer. The course takes you through vineyards, orchards, cute residential streets, along the water front, and downtown Kelowna where it finishes at the Kelowna Waterfront Park. The course had lots to offer, and they had it well equipped with aid stations and volunteers cheering along the way. Plus, I ran the half marathon with my aunt, so it was nice to have someone to chat with along the way!
WAIT - Did I mention there is wine at the end?
After collecting your medal and bag of goodies at the finish line, runners were able to pick up a wine glass for the tasting event. Since Ryan was with me, I had a ticket for two wine glasses so he could participate as well. Aaand now we have two fancy wine glasses to add to the collection ; ) Local wineries came out and you were able to go from station to station and sample their specialties. There were SO many good wines out there (I am a red girl), and I am hoping I can find them at our stores here to share them with family and friends.
The medal is a wine coaster! I don't know if I would use it as a coaster since I am paranoid about anything scratching the table (still has that new look, almost a year later!), but nevertheless. It is a super cool idea for a wine themed race, and the wine glasses were a nice little bonus.
All in all, I enjoyed everything the Wine Country Half had to offer. It was a great day filled with great sights, great people & great wine. I will be back next year!