While many people think of a day in Yamhill wine country as relaxing, runners know better. For one day each July, the Dundee Hills transform into a grueling cross country-style course for the Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon. Started in 2009, the race lets 1,200 participants run the rows through local vineyards to a tasting party at the finish line. We asked race founder and director Chris Nagy about the vertically challenging and view-rewarding race, and how to have a good time on this run for the hills.
Travel Yamhill: Where did the idea for this race come from and why do you think it has grown so much over the years?
Chris: I got the idea from my love of running and my love of all things Dundee Hills AVA Pinot Noir. I was working at Archery Summit as their guest relations manager and was on the Dundee Hills wine growers association board. Bringing a half marathon to Dundee that was centered around fine wine sounded like an event I would want to run. So…I got way outside of my comfort zone and Fueled by Fine Wine was born. It was the perfect event to bring people from around the country to experience this great wine region. I love to dream out new ideas and wanted this event to show the amazing vineyards, the people and of course the fine wines.
Travel Yamhill: Tell us a little about the course: what sets it apart from other races?
Chris: One of the things that sets this race apart is that it is a huge departure from a usual half marathon. The course runs through as many Dundee Hills vineyards as I can connect in a 13.1-mile course. It is hilly, it is dirty and it is so beautiful. “You won’t get your best time, but you will have the best time!” is something I say….
Travel Yamhill: What’s your favorite part of the event?
Chris: Runners or walkers are greeted by beautiful vineyard views that they normally wouldn’t have access to—and the views are worth it. Also the wineries and vineyard owners have been so welcoming to this event and everyone looks forward to it every year. It’s a ton of work for one person, but I love watching it come together each year.
Travel Yamhill: What can participants look forward to this year, anything new?
Chris: The course is always new with new twists and a few vineyards that we haven’t run through before. They can always look forward to the fantastic fine wines that meet them at the finish. Also the shirts are great again this year; they read: “I’m just here for the wine.”
Fueled By Fine Wine Half Marathon: Sunday July 9, 2017, Dundee
For more information or to register, visit: fueledbyfinewine.com