Monday, June 4, 2012

Half Corked in the Okanagan wine region

3 Hours, 18.5km and 12 wineries - not your typical race statistics but this was not your typical race!

The weekend before last was the Oliver 'Half Corked' marathon. This event is organized by the Oliver Wine Tourism office and celebrates and promotes some of the 23 wineries it has in it's tiny region of the Southern Okanagan. It's a small race - just 650 participants, and when registration opened back in February it sold out in 3 minutes. Popular? Uh, YES!! I didn't really realise our good fortune in snagging entries into the run until we'd done it - and my goodness I will be there with speedy fingers next year because this needs to be on my calendar every year!! I LOVED it.

This was not a race to take very seriously. You got that impression when you shared the school bus shuttle ride to the start line with cowboys, bananas, Snow White and the 7 dwarfs, giant bunches of grapes and various superheros - yes this was fancy dress central!! I can't believe the effort people put into their costumes. I'm a bit of a fancy dress bah-humbug, but for this even I made a little effort! (I actually loved what I wore - a decent amount of effort, but completely practical for running for 3 hours - and our socks got heaps of compliments!)

We set off in 3 waves - we snuck into the 2nd wave leaving at 8:50am and started on our very picturesque journey through the rolling hills of the Southern Okanagan Wine region - along farmyard tracks, dusty roads, riverside trails and between the grapes in sweeping fields of vines. En route we stopped at 12 different wineries wine tasting. Our first swig was probably around 9am - not bad for a Sunday morning!! This could sound really bad - and it's tempting to let you think it's this crazy, drunken 18km fest. But that would be pretty irresponsible right? And it was hot too - even worse! Actually I don't think I've ever been so well hydrated in any race I've done - and no, not just from the boozy grape juice! We did sample at every stop - but of course it was just a taster. But we always chased that down with a refreshing cup of cold water - that's 12 cups of water!. High performance gels and GUs were switched out for nibbles along the way too - cheese and crackers (of course!), breakfast smokies, fig rolls and then later on fruity ice pops, fresh strawberries and pastries and some delicious cucumber and mint consomme.

At the finish line, instead of medals we received a commemorative etched wine glass and a bottle of wine, made from a blend from all 23 wineries. Then we sat out on the grass of the sports field and enjoyed a  yummy brown bag lunch, a candy bar, a lemonade stand and oh, more wine samples ;-)! whilst we basked in the glorious sunshine and patted ourselves on the back for getting to be part of such a fabulous event!

By the way, in case you weren't sure...I really, really loved this event! We had such incredible fun! There are so many reasons why I fell in love with this region, and made the move to emigrate when I had no intention of emigrating, and why, when we did decide to move to Canada, it wasn't just Canada it was here - the Okanagan - and so many of those reasons were wrapped up and bundled into this event and reminded me of how thankful I am of my wonderful life here.

But don't tell anyone about it, because it's already oversubscribed and I want to take part again next year!


  1. This sounds like such a great race!! The pictures are so nice, I can see why you enjoyed it so much!

    Also, I got your thank you card in the mail on thursday, it was very nice! Thanks :)

  2. Congrats to you both! Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun and from the pics looked great!

  3. That looks like such a fun race and I love your costumes! And a beautiful day too!

    [Fitness, Health and Happiness]


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