When you run a half-marathon, you are already a winner. It’s not always about where you place. In a race that covers a distance of 13.1 miles, it’s more about the place that you run.
And what better place to run a half-marathon than in scenic wine country?
Rolling farmlands, a diverse ecosystem featuring California oak woodland mixed with savannah and chaparral; wildlife such as black-tailed deer, the red-tailed hawk, and the rare red-legged frog are just some of the sights that take your fatigue away at wine country.
Then, of course, there are the world-class vineyards and the multi-awarded restaurants that have put wine country cuisine on the map.
Put simply, running a half-marathon in wine country is an experience you would never forget. If you love running and fine wine, combine your 2 passions and run a half-marathon in wine country.
Here are 10 of the best wine country half marathons that you may want to run in 2019.
1. Wine Country Half-Marathon and 5k Runs, Paso Robles, CA
Paso Robles is popular for its panoramic farmland, hot springs, and wonderful wineries such as the CaliPaso Winery, Eberle Winery, and Herman Story Wines.
Every year, Palo Robles hosts the Wine Country Runs Half-Marathon & 5k race which features a picturesque but challenging course that takes runners through hills and wide-open valleys.
The organizers of the race always remind runners that the half-marathon is a “run-walk” race to encourage all participants to savor the scenic experience.
2. SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half-Marathon & 5k
The SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half-Marathon & 5k is set in the beautiful wine-growing region of Temecula Valley.
Runners are faced with overcoming the challenging course that takes them through the Agua Tivia Wilderness and the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest.
Likewise, the weather at Temecula can be unpredictable. The event is scheduled in June where temperatures can hit the mid-90s.
An interesting feature of this event is the team portion whereby you can organize 4 to 10 of your family friends to run the race as a unit.
3. Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half-Marathon & 5k
With the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half-Marathon & 5k Run, the reward comes as you cross the finish line. And by reward, we don’t mean the medals!
Aside from the breath-taking scenery, as runners approach the home stretch, you are taken on a straightway from Broadway, Sonoma Valley to City Hall where you will be greeted by the Wine & Music Festival.
What better way to relax and recover after a half-marathon than by getting a massage at one of the tents and sampling some of the best wines in the world at a tasting booth?
- Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon
As runners traverse the Willamette Valley, they will marvel at the beautiful vineyards nestling at the Stoller Winery which is located at the town of Carlton.
At the end of the run, you can relax and unwind at the traditional Wine & Music Festival which takes place after the event.
The Willamette Valley is highly-regarded for its magnificent pinot gris and pinot noir variety of wines. Over the last few years, Willamette Valley has built a strong reputation as one of the best wine- producing regions in the West Coast.
The course for the half-marathon can be quite challenging. Runners will face a good number of rolling hills particularly between race markers for miles 4, 6, 8, and 10.
The half-marathon race is certified by the USATF or USA Track and Field association.
5. San Luis Obispo Half-Marathon
San Luis Obispo is known for its picturesque backdrop – large rolling hills, lush greenery, and astounding mountains that overlook the Pacific coastline.
As you cross the bridges that connect the canyons, you will come across the marvelous spectacle of wineries and their vineyards nestled comfortably in the hillside.
The San Luis Obispo Marathon will take you on a scenic tour of the city. During the 13.1-mile run, you will visit some of the San Luis Obispo’s most popular sights and attractions.
These destinations include the Fremont Theater, the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, and the Irish Hills Nature Preserve.
You will also get scenic views of the mountains of Cerro San Luis and Bishop Peak. As you head on toward the finish line, you will pass through the California Polytechnic State University and conclude the run at the iconic Madonna Inn.
6. Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon
The Virginia County Half-Marathon will take runners across D.C Wine Country which gets its sterling reputation from the more than 20 wineries and vineyards located in Loudoun County.
During the first few miles, runners will be greeted by rolling hills situated along wonderfully paved roads. Barns, long farm fencing, and horses can be seen as you run one mile after another.
Expect some challenges as you make your way through miles 6 and 7 as you come across Picnic Woods.
This part of the course features steep rolling hills before you head toward flat farmland and quaint tree-lined stretches and ponds that dot the course toward Morrisonville Road.
7. Fueled By Fine Wine Half-Marathon
Every summer, more than 1,000 runners descend upon the small town of Dundee in Oregon to participate in the fun-filled and awe-inspiring 13.1-mile race called the FueledBy Fire.
Runners love this race because it takes them through a 13.1-mile journey through Dundee’s best wineries. You will literally smell the grapes from the vineyards!
If you’re thinking about joining your first half-marathon on a vacation, this race is the one for you.
Dundee is also known for its many charming bed and breakfast inns. Once you pass through the event’s 6th- mile marker, you will come across many of these wonderful inns that you may decide to book a stay after the race!
8. Santa Barbara Wine County Half-Marathon
Can you think of a better way of spending a Saturday morning than running 13.1 miles along gorgeously breath-taking scenery through the Santa Ynez Valley?
At the end of the journey, you can rest your weary feet and indulge in your love for food and wine at the annual Food and Wine festival which coincides with the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half-Marathon run.
In this race, it is not the course which takes your breath away but the amazing views that line up the state. Run alongside alluring farmlands, vineyards, and the stunning countryside.
Mile markers 7 through 9 are the downhill portions of the race and will be a very fast section. At the same time, this part of the half-marathon will take through the best scenery the state has to offer.
You might want to slow down and take in the sights!
9. Running Between The Vines Half-Marathon
What makes more than 3,000 runners want to endure the pain of a grueling half-marathon race? How about a relaxing run through a winery that leads to a dense forest, beautiful fishing lakes, and delightful campgrounds?
The Running Between the Vines half-marathon course will take runners through the 20,000-acre park known as the Waterloo State Recreation area. Be ready to see plenty of wildlife as you make your way through the dirt back roads which feature quite a few rolling hills.
The race starts and ends at the Sandhill Crane Vineyards which is a family-owned winery. You will be inspired by the amazing view of the vineyard which has an elegant wine tasting room located right in the middle of the property.
And what awaits runners at the finish line? How about a glass of Sandhill Crane wine to make the long-run worth the effort?
10. Wineglass Half-Marathon
The Wineglass Marathon and Half-Marathon is considered by many avid runners as one of the fastest races through wine country. Yet, the event attracts more than 5,000 runners every year.
The course will take you along a scenic journey through charming neighborhoods and lovely riverside farmland. At the very least, you will run across 4 bridge crossings during the race.
The Chemung River provides the backdrop for the race and the finish line is located across the Centerway Bridge and a run past the famous Corning Museum of Glass.
Running a half-marathon through wine country creates an irony: In an event where time is everything, you want time to standstill.
If you work in a city, a wine country half-marathon gives you the perfect escape from the concrete jungle and into the welcome arms of idyllic surroundings and unspoiled scenery.
When you have finished one of these races, feel free to open a bottle of your favorite wine.
You deserve it!