One of the most challenging, fun, beautiful and wine-filled ½ marathons I have even run; Fueled By Fine Wine ½ Marathon in Dundee Hills, Oregon.
This was the 3rd year for this ½, and my 3rd time running it. Every year, the course has changed, the wine has changed, and the excitement and good times have changed.
This year was no exception.
This is a fantastically run event. Moved this year from its original venue to the beautiful Stoller Vineyard. The space was opened up a bit for the start/finish. The course this year took us past some of the most incredible vineyards. The views were outstanding. The course was just as challenging as ever. Every year, I think they could not make it hillier, but somehow this happens. Some of the climbs were just outrageous! The downhills were brutal on the quads, knees, ankles and ego. Several times we thought, “What goes up…” This course defies the norm. Just because we were running up, did not mean, we were going to head down.
I ran this year with our dear friend who lives in the Portland area, and the Hubs. His first time. OH BOY!! He was a FBFW virgin. He definitely felt the brutality. HAHA! A lot of the course this year was run on gravel, jory soil through the vineyards and grassy fields, even one area that was a single track/horse trail through a vineyard, and some amazing forested areas. I love trail running, so this, I think, was by far my favorite course thus far.
The aide stations were fun and filled with enthusiastic volunteers. I loved the station on Winter’s Hill Vineyard. Music and fun people all drinking mimosas!! Where else do you get that on a racecourse??
All of the challenge of this course was worth the pay off when we would stop to look around. Sweeping views of the valley, extraordinary vineyards as far as the eye could see.
The after party was so much fun. A lot more wineries this year awaited us in a covered tent area, pouring generous amounts of wine for tasting. Great food was available. The area of Stoller Vineyards that we finished was right in the outer part of the vineyard. Vines were growing, right next to where we sat on blankets, eating lunch, wine tasting, and sitting in the sun in the after-glow of an incredible race.
After the race, we had the opportunity to visit some of the best wineries in the Dundee Hills area. Which of course resulted in, bringing quite a few bottles of wine back home with us.