Although the weather wasn’t cooperating, the Carneros Vineyard Run is the funnest race I’ve run.
1. It’s in wine country and not in the downtown area, but in the backroads winding through crops of grapes.
2. It’s small. I heard talk that there were 700 registrants–500 of whom showed up in spite of the bad weather.
3. It’s short–choose a 5k or 10k.
4. Massages, pancake breakfast, and wine tasting after the run.
5. Awards (i.e., bottles of wine) are given to the top three placers in each age group, and overall.
6. Goody bag of T-shirts and souvenir wine glasses.
7. Raffled auction. Every participant gets one raffle ticket, plus you can purchase more.
8. The race benefits the Carneros Volunteer Fire Department.
Sitting on picnic tables inside a winery’s warehouse chowing down on pancakes with several hundred locals, I felt like I was in Smallville. Great community feel. I could see why people run the race year after year.
Finally, on a positive note, I finished 53rd overall in the 5k out of 255 runners. So top quartile ain’t too shabby.