Look out for Half Corked accommodation packages offered by local businesses taking part, from B&Bs to RV parks and top hotels. Runners looking for a little luxury before the race can get special deals from $129 a night at Walnut Beach Resort or $145 a night at Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa, or cosy up in a B&B such as Elm Tree Farm, which is offering a fourth night free over the race weekend. Anyone driving up from Vancouver with friends can score a suite that sleeps four for $79 a night at the Bella Villa Resort Motel or, if you’re bringing your own accommodation, a stay at Apple Beach RV park costs $23 a night.
Food, Glorious Good
The restaurants taking part are still to be confirmed, but it’s likely that many of the Okanagan’s finest restaurants, such as The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl and Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek, will be involved again this year. Even if you don’t get a race ticket you can still join the runners and load up on carbs at the Primavera! pre-race springtime celebration, which includes a pasta party in the vineyards on Friday May 23rd. During the race there will be 10-12 wine and food stops to grab some fuel, and afterwards a gourmet a post-race picnic will take place at the Finish Line Lunch (included in the ticket price).
Wine, Wine and More Wine
Wine is the focal point of the run and the 31 wineries in the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association will be taking part, either as a roadside stand, tasting stop or as part of the post-race Finishing Line Lunch. Wineries vary from well-known names such as Hester Creek and Jackson-Triggs to well-established wineries like Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, who this year celebrate their 20th anniversary, and smaller boutique wineries including Oliver Twist.
Put In Some Serious Training
The Half Corked Marathon is based on the Marathon du Medoc – a 26.2-mile run through the vineyards of the Medoc region of France. The race is not timed but serious runners do take part, although you can easily jog or walk the course if you prefer. Training for the race is actually fun – your personal best is going to be how many wineries you can hit on an 18-km run, so running and drinking wine are both integral parts of the pre-race regime.
Fun In The Sun
Dressing up is encouraged and this fourth annual race is expected to bring even more weird and wonderful costumes. Last year human-sized ‘Malibooze’ Barbies ran/drank alongside men dressed as Marilyn Monroe and a wide range of superheroes. The emphasis is on fun so a wagon will do the rounds at the three-hour mark to pick up anyone with wobbly legs (whether from drinking wine or running) and take them to the finish line.
With an average high temperature of 22°C in May, the Oliver Osoyoos region is sunshine central during springtime and the semi-arid area is in the Okanagan, which is one of the hottest parts of Canada. During previous races the temperature has been a toasty 17-27°C, but luckily there’s plenty of water along the way (alongside the other ‘refreshments’ on offer at the wine tasting stations). Cool down with a cold glass of chardonnay at the Finish Line Lunch.
The choice is yours to run, jog or walk, but you'll definitely want to have a drink at this year's Half Corked Marathon
How are the New Year’s Resolutions going? If your running regime has slipped in favour of staying inside and drinking wine there may be a way to get back on track.
On May 24th, the Half Corked Marathon takes place in the Oliver Osoyoos region of the Okanagan: the 18-km fun run snakes through the vineyards with plenty of stops for wine tasting and local fare. Last year the race sold out in record time so a new lottery ticket system will allocate 650 tickets for 2014 – sign up to ‘win’ the chance to purchase two tickets ($139 each).
Be quick, the lottery closes Friday, February 14th at 11.59 pm. On your marks, get set... glug. Enter the lottery here!
Amy Watkins is a British writer who fell in love with Vancouver when she visited on an assignment and then moved here. She writes about travel for national UK publications and writes BCLiving's weekly events column.