Smutty Fitness: Half Corked Marathon
I love wine and I love to run so when one of my close friends suggested we do the Half Corked Marathon that runs through Oliver Osooyos Wine Country I said yes without hesitation. I knew I had made the right decision when I saw the route for the race as it read more like a wine menu at my favourite restaurant than a race map. Why would anyone say no to running 18km through vineyards where you are handed wine rather than water? I knew this would be a fantastic event but I had no idea it was going to be as fantastic as it was and that one of the best and most memorable weekends was about to be had.
I have been to many events all over the world, but I have never smiled more than I did at this race. The weekend started with the Primavera pre-race dinner, which I was not too keen to go to as usually these are held in tacky hotel conference rooms and you are served terrible pasta. Not here. The dinner was at Church and State Winery, which provided one of the most stunning backdrops I have ever had the pleasure of eating next to. White tents, white table cloths and free flowing wine made this dinner feel more like a black tie wedding, not a pre-race, carbo load feast. 250 athletes dressed in their finest, all enjoying an incredible Italian dinner served family style. Pesto bread, Bolognese and a lemon rhubarb custard was all the fuel we would need for our 18km adventure the next day.
And did I mention that this race was not timed? This meant there was ZERO pressure on anyone and the only awards that were handed out at the end of the day were for the best costumes and most creative finish. I am quite competitive when I race but I left my ego behind this time and enjoyed every step of the route. Rather than Gatorade we were handed red wine, white wine, rose, bubbly and sangria (click here for the recipe) from the likes of Tinhorn Creek, Hester Creek, Rustico, Inniskillin, Church and State, Stoneboat, Young and Wise, and Nk’ Mip. Let me tell you, drinking wine in a Flashgirl costume at 8:30 in the morning felt normal.
It took me over 3 hours to finish. The 18km route weaved us through the vineyards and it was not until the last few kilometers that our shoes hit the pavement. Even though this was meant to be fun, it still offered a challenging enough terrain for even the most experienced of runners. We were all glad to cross the finish line, but unlike most races where you refuel on stale bagels and cookies, we were welcomed with more of BC’s incredible wine and food. They literally had to pull me away from the gelato table.
So why am I telling you about this race? Because I have never smiled more than I did on those 18km. This was my first time running in a costume and this was my first time not caring about what the clock read when I crossed the finish line. There were all shapes and sizes out on the course and everyone was there for one reason; to have a fun. An event like this needs to be on everyone’s bucket list and it does not matter your fitness ability, age, gender or size as all will feel accomplished at the end.
Make a weekend of this race and take in all that the Osooyos Oliver Wine Country has to offer. We checked ourselves in at Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and if we had arrived blind folded we would have thought we were in the heart of Napa Valley. From wineries, to organic farms tours, to outdoor concerts, to pancakes breakfasts, we did not find ourselves with a moment to spare. Grab your mom, your sister or your best friend and enter next year’s lottery for a spot in this race but cross your fingers as they only award 850 spots for over 3000 runners who try to get in. I lucked out and won a spot on my first try and I will definitely try my luck again next year, as this race was simply too much fun to not do again.