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