We were up before 5:00am on Race Day to have a little bite to eat, get ready and head out to the shuttle that would bring us to starting point at Vibrant Vine Winery. At half past 5:00am, the lines at the shuttle stop was already long and winding, full of shivering runners.
It was a chilly morning and thank goodness we were prepared and brought warmer running clothes just in case. Runners young and old were there. A few couples had running strollers. It’s always interesting to hear about where people come from for events like this. There’s a group of female K-12 teachers from the US who pick a few destination races to do a year and go on girls’ trips. Some follow the wine destination race circuit throughout the year. A number of families do this as an annual bonding trip. It’s a lovely mix of runners indeed.
The mood was festive at Vibrant Vine: people walking or jogging around the property to warm up, others getting their dose of coffee from Kicking Horse, several were stretching by the rows of apple trees beside the winery, and a good number of us huddled inside the 3D tasting room for warmth and wine tasting–oh, yes, they’ll pour you some wine if you’d like.
The race started with the sun shining above the orchard. After the runners left Vibrant wine, us 2nd-half relay runners were transported to the transition point about 11 kilometers from the starting point. I got J’s energy gel and water ready while waiting. After receiving his medal during the transition, he decided to just run the rest of the race with me. Aw. We crossed the finished line together, hobbled for a bit (ouch), then went for a well-deserved brunch at the VIP corner.
After being sufficiently fed, we walked over to the wine tasting area. Everyone was happy despite the long lines. These fine wineries were there pouring wines for participants and their family and friends:
The awarding ceremony took place before noon at the waterfront stage. The top 3 runners were 2 females and one male, and one of the youngest runners was one of the top 10 fastest runners of the race! Whoa. If that kid can run at 12, can you imagine how fast he can be at 20? Having been at the transition point meant that we witness all these winners go past us when we felt like the race just started. Absolutely inspiring. While the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon is marketed as a more inclusive and fun marathon, it does have its share of elite athletes going for the podium with killer times.
What a fantastic race that was and I’m so happy we did it! We left after the ceremony with just enough time to pack and check out of the hotel and set out for a well-deserved lunch-with-a-view at Mission Hill and more wine tasting before we driving out of wine country. I think I’ll do that again—a new destination, perhaps?