I ran this race in 2018 and swore I was one and done with this event, but I was lucky to win a free entry to the Uncorked Half Marathon from Austin (@eatsbyaustin on Instagram) and Sports Backers, so I was ready to give it a second chance! My reasoning was similar to why I was never going to run the Patrick Henry half again: the heat and the hills! Alas, I ran that one again, too, as the rebranded Ashland Half Marathon.
Taking place in New Kent County from the New Kent winery, the event also has a 5k and a pretty great post-race party. They also host a brunch as an add-on to the race. The winery is so pretty!
As it turns out, the weather for Saturday’s race was nearly perfect! Temperatures were in the upper 50’s with a light mist for the entire race. Admittedly, this was terrible weather for friends and volunteers who weren’t running.
The course, even though it was just as hilly as I remember, was beautiful. The first 10ish miles winds through country roads which would have mainly been in the shade had it been a sunny day. There’s a bit of a tease at the end, because just when you think you are back to the finish with the winery in sight and post-race announcements audible, you are routed through a neighborhood of absolutely stunning homes. You finally make your way back to the winery to finish. I wore my Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon shirt to remind me that just a few weeks ago, I climbed 2 mountains. So, really, the only hill I absolutely walked was during mile 7, where the cheering squad from the Fitness Warriors was there to lift our spirits! And I loved seeing all of the wildflowers in bloom, including my favorite: the wild columbine.
If you don’t know, the Fitness Warriors is the Sports Backers program that trains fitness enthusiasts to be group fitness instructors. These health advocates go on to serve communities who don’t ordinarily have access to gyms and other wellness outlets and who have high rates of chronic disease. It has made a tremendous impact on the Richmond community, and it was the charity partner for this event. They are also a very enthusiastic bunch whose energy is contagious!
Another awesome thing about this race? The swag! The medal is a wine stopper, and the ladies race shirt is a singlet! I love them both this year! You also get a wine glass and a free glass of wine or beer after the race. My choice? The Vidal Blanc.
It was so much fun to see both old friends and new friends at this race! I’m excited that I met Austin and Emily in person. It’s great to finally meet Instagram friends in real life!
Once again, Sports Backers put on a great event. We really lucked out on the weather this year. Will I be back? We shall see!
Do you have any spring races on you agenda? I’d love to hear about it! This was half marathon #3 this year for me.
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.