Running races for wine lovers from 5K to marathon

Running, wining and dining collide at these wine-themed raced around the U.S. Photo: Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon-Phelan Ebenhack/runDisney

NEW YORK, October 28, 2013 — Grape harvest season from New York to Napa happens to coincide with fall running season.

Wine-loving runners, however, have a bounty of races year-round, that cater to folks who like to pound grape, with many of them selling out months in advance.


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Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

November 9, 2013 in Florida

This nighttime half marathon with a 10 p.m. start runs through Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom theme parks before finishing at Epcot, but the real draw is the Finish Line Party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Epcot stays open to 4 a.m. for runners, with music, Disney characters, and, of course, food and wine. Friends and family can buy tickets to the party too.

Race swag includes a technical shirt, $10 Disney gift card, one of runDisney’s iconic finisher medals, and entrance to the Finish Line Party. The weekend also includes a 5K fun run and kids races. www.runDisney.com

Spicewood Vineyards Half-Marathon and 10K

December 7, 2013 in Texas

These vineyard races promise challenging out-and-back courses along country roads just 40 minutes west of Austin. They also promise runners a post-race wine tasting and food spread of Texan proportions; grilled chicken, smoked pulled pork, pasta salad, sandwiches, and cheese to pair with the wine.

The race benefits Toys For Tots, and Santa Claus and Elf costume contests help runners get into the spirit of the season. Runners take home a technical shirt and etched wine glass. Winners earn a bottle of Spicewood Wine. www.runintexas.com

The Vintage Run Series

Year-round in New York

The Vintage Run Series in New York’s Hudson Valley was conceived as a relaxed way to meld running and wine. Participants are timed, but there are no finisher medals or awards. Every run takes place at or near a vineyard, finishing with a tasting at the host winery. Most vintage runs are 2.5 to 4 miles long with some longer courses too. Runners take home a wine glass from the host vineyard. www.facebook.com/SevenFiveOEvents

Hearst Castle is just one of the tourist attractions near the Wine Country Runs Half Marathon in Paso Robles, California. (Photo: Proimos [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Wine Country Runs Half Marathon

March 23, 2014 in California

The top male and female finishers at this California Central Coast race take home their weight in wine. But all runners take home a technical shirt and wine glass after finishing the mostly paved course that tours vineyard roads and the Salinas River. The event also includes a 5K and Kids’ Half Mile Grape Stomp. Post race festivities include a breakfast bar and live music. If traveling from afar, be sure to tour nearby Hearst Castle, the 165-room estate of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. www.winecountryruns.com

Fueled By Fine Wine Half Marathon

July 13, 2014 in Oregon

Calling all Pinot Noir lovers. Oregon’s Willamette Valley promises a challenging and hilly run through vineyard trails beside rows of the black grape. “You won’t run your best time,” says race president Chris Nagy, “but you’ll have your best time.” Race registration includes a technical shirt, medal and Pinot Noir wine glass. The post-race party features tastings from vintners in Oregon’s Dundee Hills Wine Growers Association. www.fueledbyfinewine.com

It’s all about grapes at the Harvest Stompede in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula and other wine-themed races around the U.S. (Photo: lpwines.com)

Wine Country Half Marathon Series

May to October, North America

Six North American wine regions are the draw at these destinations races tailor-made for grape guzzlers in Virginia, Oregon, Santa Barbara, Calif., Healdsburg, Calif, Napa to Sonoma, Calif., and British Columbia in Canada.

The flagship event in the series is the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20, 2014. The fast course, with a net elevation drop of 77 feet, takes runners from Carneros to the Sonoma Plaza past acres of grapevines, ranches, and farms. The post-race UnitedHealthcare Wine and Music Festival includes 20 wineries and breweries. Runners take home the Riedel wine glass that comes with their complimentary tasting. Other race swag includes a technical shirt and finisher’s medal. Runners can also purchase tickets to wine tours, a pre-race dinner and a welcome reception at a local vineyard. destinationraces.com

Harvest Wine Run

September 2014 in Rhode Island

Wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when visiting the Ocean State, but the Coastal Wine Trail of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts features nine vineyards. Among them, Newport Vineyards hosts this 3.5-mile trail run through its grapevines. After the race, which starts at 3 p.m., runners enjoy a BBQ dinner and wine tastings. The wine glass is theirs to keep. www.eidentracing.com

Enchanted Forest Wine Run

September 2014 in Oregon

Want to wine and dine while you run? You can at the Wooldridge Creek Winery in Oregon. This cross-country style half-marathon and 5K starts with a 3-mile run around the winery, followed by 10 miles in an “enchanted” forest with mountain, creek and vineyard views. Aid stations feature foods and beverages like coffee, chocolate and, of course, wine. In keeping with the themes, prizes are awarded for best gnome and fairy costumes, and a bonus “Magic Mushroom” scavenger hunt rewards runners who find special fungi hidden along the course.

Entry to the half marathon and 5K includes a wine glass and glass of wine, and half marathoners also get a finisher’s medal and local, organic meal. www.thewinerun.com

North County Wine Run

September 2014 in Washington

This wine run benefits the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, which serves nearly 150,000 kids every year from around the western U.S. In the fundraiser spirit, the half marathon and 9K allow runners to push a stroller. Walkers are welcome too; the half marathon has a leisurely 4-hour time limit.

The course has views of Mt. St. Helens and ends at Schumacher Farm, where runners are treated to lunch, wine, jazz and other entertainment, all included in the registration fee. Runners can also elect to buy tickets to dinner at a local winery the night before the race. northcountywinerun.getboldevents.com

Runners traverse vineyard rows at the Harvest Stompede in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. (Photo: lpwines.com)

Harvest Stompede

September 2014 in Michigan

Perhaps the most creatively named, this weekend of races includes a 7-mile run, 5K run and 5K walk through the vineyard rows of Michigan’s Leelanau peninsula. Following the races, runners can opt into the Harvest Stompede Wine Tour, a self-guided outing among the 23 Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association member wineries, pairing local foods with their wines. Tastes range from bratwurst and sauerkraut paired with Riesling to strawberry shortcake paired with Pinot Noir. Race registration and wine tour tickets are sold separately. www.lpwines.com

Idaho Wine Run

September 2014 in Idaho

There’s a distance for everyone in Idaho’s Snake River Valley. Runners can choose from a marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K and half-mile fun run for kids. For runners who can’t wait until the post-race party, some aid stations include wine samples in addition to water. Afterwards, runners sip wine from over 10 local vintners. Runners take home a T-shirt and wine glass. idahowinerun.net

The Great Arizona Grape Stomp Series

September-November 2014 in Arizona

Arizona may not be synonymous with wine, but the Arizona Wine Growers Association wants to change that. This series of 5K runs benefits the association, whose vineyards sit in the cool, high deserts of the state. Registration includes a tote bag, T-shirt and wine glass. www.arizonawine.org

Wineglass Marathon

October 3-5, 2014 in New York

The Wineglass Marathon Weekend, which includes a marathon, half marathon and 5K, showcases New York’s Finger Lakes wine region at the height of fall foliage. The course is known as a flat and fast downhill run from Bath, N.Y. to Corning, N.Y. Voted “Speediest Marathon” by “Runner’s World” readers in 2010, the Wineglass Marathon starts near an elevation of 1,200 feet before gradually dropping to 920 feet at the finish.

But as the name suggests, many runners come for the libations and vintner-inspired swag, including a wine glass, bottle of sparkling wine, and a handmade glass medal. www.wineglassmarathon.com

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runners’ show about running. Her work has been seen in Newsweek, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, ABC-TV in New York and over two dozen other outlets. She has finished seven marathons and four triathlons. Follow Karla at RunKarlaRun.com.


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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.

 

A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

 

When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on RunKarlaRun.com, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

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