Many of you know I work part-time at a local winery, which is where I was all weekend. In the tasting room we had the typical visits from giggling, limo-driven bridal parties, boisterous male bonding groups, and (thankfully) many well-behaved couples interested not in getting drunk but in learning the finer points of wine and the vineyard lifecycle. As the photo below indicates, the vines have just been pruned and will soon come out of dormancy with bud break in about a month.
Of course I can’t go any further without drawing some parallels with running: like how runners may also be coming out of dormancy from the winter, that we will soon to be showing new growth spurts as our fitness improves each month, how we will be training ourselves with shorter races like the vines are trained on the trellises, and how we hope to peak in the fall with a harvest of satisfying longer runs and races.
Which brings me to some great wine-related races that all runners should try at least once, based on my previous recommendation that every runner should put a destination race on their calendar.
California offers the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon on May 7th, with a tour of the Santa Ynez Valley – a must for fans of the movie Sideways – as well as the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 17th. Don’t expect Gatorade at their post-race parties! Also in July is the Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon through parts of the beautiful wine country of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Then on October 2nd New York’s Finger Lakes wine country is host to the Wine Glass Marathon.
And for those spontaneous runners and wine lovers who are already up to speed and can get away on short notice, you have three weeks until the Marathon de Cheverny in France’s Loire Valley. This race is known not just for its undulating course through one of the world’s finest grape regions, but for the wine and cheese refueling stops along the course at the 18K and 39K marks. Gotta love those French! Cheers.