A “marathon” where imbibing along an 18km route of bucolic countryside is encouraged? Aid stations that serve wine and cheese? Creative costume design valued over speed? Sign me up! Registration for the May 24, 2014 run is happening now. Read about last year’s fun.
Five gal pals and I had a blast at the 4th Annual Half Corked Marathon, hosted by the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos, in British Columbia’s Okanagan. We ran (or rather, hobbled) the beautiful course, taking breaks at 12 wineries that served up delectable samples. At the finish line, 14 additional wineries provided tasty adult refreshments.
I learned about the Half Corked through my friend and running pal, Morag. Her sister is a vintner whose lovely winery, Platinum Bench, was one of the participating wineries. Morag didn’t need to twist any arms to get our group signed up.
We decided early on that this was going to be strictly a fun run: no special training, no worrying about time. Even with training, there wasn’t a chance we were going to win on speed, so we channeled our energy to designing a prize-winning costume.
We came up with a number of good options, but the brainstorm came quite unexpectedly, over a couple of glasses of wine, while watching Real House Wives of Vancouver.
“I’ve got it,” yelled Trish, “we can be the Real House Wines of Vancouver.” We all loved the idea. Just to be clear, we don’t really watch that show; we were just channel surfing.
Wearing long blond wigs, skimpy miniskirts, and Lady Gaga inspired cork hats, we sashayed our way along gorgeous vineyard trails and country roads. Our enhanced bosoms led the way as we teetered on 4 inch cork heels, which we donned for our grand entrances to each of the wineries.
The wine and tasty bites were fabulous at all the wineries, but the Real House Wines had some favourites: the aromatic Gewurz at lively Silver Sage Winery; the perky bubbly and wine slushies at Stoneboat Winery; the delightful bocconcini skewers at classy Church & State; and the refreshing Platinum Bench Chardonnay at the finish line.
Unlike other costume optional events, where only a minority participate, the Half Corked Marathon attracts a large group of people eager to indulge in silliness. The Real House Wines were thrilled to share top costume honours with Mattel’s “Malibooze Barbies”, recommended for ages 19+, and the outrageous Naked Grapes— wine boxes with functioning spigot dispensers strategically placed at pelvic level.
Prizes were also awarded to top male and female racers but winners were subjected to breathalyser tests. For once, elevated blood-alcohol level was a good thing. The fastest female runner was heckled after the judges determined she had skipped the wineries.
“Maybe there’s something to this real house wines thing,” Janice commented as we posed for photos and strutted our stuff for the Global TV camera. We revelled in our half corked state and lapped up all the attention, knowing that tomorrow we’d be average house wines, slightly past their prime.
The Oliver-Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon is a wonderful way to explore BC’s beautiful wine country. We are stoked for this year’s event and plan to pull out all the stops for costume design.