Foothill Flyers Race Reviews
Last update March 12, 2013

Wine Country Half Marathon / 5K

First Sunday in April, Paso Robles, CA, 9:00 AM Start.

App and info: call (805) 226-9911 or email winecountryruns@hotmail.com

From Julie Miller:

I did the Wine Country Half Marathon on Sunday, April 6th, 2003 in Paso Robles California. This is a beautiful, country run through the vineyards of Paso Robles.

The race starts at 9 a.m. at the Martin & Weyrich Winery in Paso Robles. It's about 3 hours up the 5 and the 46 from LA. My friends and I left LA Saturday morning, stopped at the Martin & Weyrich tasting room, and did a little wine tasting the afternoon before, and then drove to Hearst Castle. We must've passed thirty wine tasting rooms along the way. We also visited a colony of elephant seals at Piedras Blancas, 4 miles north of Hearst Castle.

We stayed at the Adeline Inn on Saturday night. This is a convenient place to stay, and the closest motel to the race start. There's a terrific breakfast place called Margie's diner almost next door. Paso Robles is a cute little town which was formerly a hot springs resort area.

The race itself is reminiscent of the Napa Valley marathon with rolling hills, lots of horses, vineyards, cattle, friendly people and pretty good paved road. The start of the race, Sunday morning at 9 a.m., was cold and sunny. The first 10 miles of the course are gorgeous with spring wildflowers in bloom, fields of orange California poppies, and yellow mustard flowers, and purple alpine lupine amid lush Easter green fields of forage grass. The last 3 miles turned windy, and went through tract housing before turning into the road leading to the winery.

The one big downer was at that, due to a heavier-than-expected turn-out they ran out of tee shirts. The race advertises gallery quality tees and a bountiful post-race breakfast. Unfortunately, they didn't allow the preregistered to pick up goody bags before the race, and about 150 people more than the 400 preregistered runners showed up, although they promise to mail them to folks who signed up. They also ran out of food -- a big downer because they were serving catered fresh scrambled egg burritos, with salsa, rice and beans, coffee, fruit and bagels. However, I understand from the race coordinator that they've been running this seven years, and this has never happened before, but they had a record late turn out this year, and will fix the problem next year.

The winery has a lovely grassy amphitheater, with a band playing and encourages folks to stay around and have a picnic. There's a 5K for adults and a 5K kids run too. The first 100 runners get a special award (medal) and the male and female winners win their weight in wine. If you didn't have a chance to do Napa or Medoc, and want to run through the vineyards, this is a good pick -- but run fast or start early if you want to nab the goodies at the end.


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