Last October it seemed like everyone we knew was running the Wineglass half or full marathon and loved it, so as soon as registration opened Nicole and Sirrah signed up for the 2015 half! Before we get into our recap of the awesomeness ( because it was pretty awesome), let’s just start with this tip for anyone thinking of doing Wineglass 2016: book your hotel when you register. The towns around the race are lovely but small and the limited number of hotels fill up quickly, if you want a cute B&B – well you should probably stop reading this and go book it now. We’re serious.. Go! Book Now! We stayed at an Ecno Lodge, which due to the race, was not as cheap as you might expect. I (Nicole) did, however, have a lovely surprise on my room door when I came back from dinner at the OG. Thank you for the encouragement random person! Apologies to whomever the sign was actually meant for!
We made the race into a weekend trip and drove up Friday morning. The race is about 3 1/2 hours from the city and beautiful once you get into the country. Our first stop was the expo, located inside of Corning Museum of Glass. For someone as particularly clumsy as Nicole, it was a bit nerve-wracking to walk through the gift shop to get to the bib pickup. Walking through the gift shop also allowed us to begin Christmas shopping early. Well played glass museum, well played.
We didn’t get the chance to fully check out the glass museum where the expo was held, but we’ve heard its great. The museum was also offer a discount to race participants for museum entry AND the opportunity to design your own race themed sandblasted wineglass.
The expo itself was a bit underwhelming with maybe 15 different tables set up. Bib-pickup was well organized and separated by Half, Full, and 5k. It was there that we received the coolest swag bag ever! We got a keepsake wineglass and a little bottle of champagne!
Once you exited the expo, all race merchandise was set up. The half merchandise had color limitations but Nicole found the softest hoodie in a bright pink and fluorescent yellow. They also had bib magnets so you don’t put holes in new shirts! Stay tuned for our Holiday Gift Guide!
We had all of Saturday to play in the area before the race on Sunday. We visited 5 wineries and then took a nap. We’re old. Our favorite winery was beautiful on the outside and offered cheese and wine on the inside! Some of us were more excited about the cheese (horseradish bacon cheddar!!) than the wine!
Just a word to the wise about the towns around the race: they’re small. There are good restaurants to be found but they’re small. We ended up eating our pasta dinner at the Olive Garden (no complaints here) because our party was too big to get a table at the local Italian place near our hotel. We also spent some time Friday night before bed exploring the local mall scene. We learned a lot about duck calls in the large Field and Stream across the highway from our hotel. We’re city girls, what can we say? Malls are a little exciting!
There was a mandatory bus to the start line. Sirrah and Nicole had no issues getting right on the bus as soon as they were dropped off by Nicole’s fiancé a little before 6am. It was chilly at the start, but we were able to hang out in a high school gym to stay warm before heading to the startling. The weather ended up being perfect running weather, not too hot, not too cold, just right. I wish all races could be this perfect.
The porta-potties weren’t that bad! It helped that we were there early so we were able to use them before runners blew them up. They could have used some Porta-potties in the start corral because there were a lot of folks wandering off into the cornfields to pee. Seeing them come out was a little like Field of Dreams…only with peeing runners instead of legendary baseball players. Same dif.
The course was beautiful, BEAUTIFUL, mostly flat (downhill overall), and well staffed with friendly volunteers and amazing locals cheering and one even handing out PBR. This would be a great half for a PR goal, but I have to say we were taking it easy and it is an amazing race for slow pokes too. I (Nicole) would love to run this race again and train hard to PR. The full marathon starts 13 miles back and a half an hour after the half start so even the back of the packers in the half will find full aid stations and enthusiastic crowds.
Let’s talk about the finish for a minute. When we crossed the finish line we were given a bottle of water..then chocolate milk, then bagel halves, a banana, an apple, then chicken soup, hot pizza, AND COOKIES! Would I (Sirrah) do this race again for the food alone? Yes, yes I would.
The medal is also one of my favorites. It is beautiful blue glass and looks like it was made from the bottom of a wine bottle. Nicole found out the answer to the question I’m sure you all want to know: if you drop your medal and break it, you CAN get it replaced. It’s pretty sturdy though, if you can avoid throwing it around it’ll probably stay in one piece.
Race Price: 5 $70 isn’t bad for a half that offers that much swag and post-race smorgasbord
Organization: 5 Great volunteers and race staff that kept everything really smooth. Local colleges and girl/boy scouts manned the water stations
Level of Communication: 5 Other than a few emails about registering for the 5k, we really only got emails when there was new information.
Race Course: 5 Beautiful course with a good number of aid stations- Gatorade and water at every station and one nutrition station with salted caramel and vanilla gu.
Swag: 5 The food!!
T Shirt: 4 The shirt is cute but the women’s sizes ran super small. We weren’t allowed to swap sizes until after the race, but for those who could make it back to the expo there didn’t seem to be any trouble switching. They did run out of larger sizes in Women’s but Nicole had no problem switching to a Men’s shirt, which also ran small. Women’s shirts were fluorescent pink and Men’s were navy
Medal: 5 Beautiful handcrafted glass! This medal really stands out on my medal rack!
Spectator Support:3.5 For a relatively small race that goes through mostly rural and residential areas, the spectators were really great! There were great signs, lots of little kid hi-fives, and that random guy handing out beer (which we did not take, but still.)