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Pain & Gain in Wine Country

Runners in the Fueled By Wine event run through the picturesque hills around Dayton, OR.

Frank Miller / Courtesy of Fueled by Change

The sun is starting to peak its head out again and winter-weary athletes who love to run and bike are lacing up their shoes and tuning up their wheels in anticipation of outdoor fun ahead. With the weather finally starting to turn (we hope!), it’s a great time to start training for some of the organized rides and runs that you can take advantage of throughout the spring and summer.

Three relatively new events held in Willamette Valley wine country offer extra enticements to those looking for opportunities to sweat and suffer with their friends and neighbors. Not only do you get to travel through the rolling hills of some of Oregon’s most picturesque vineyards, but when you complete your challenge, you get to toast your hard work and replace all those burned calories with some well-deserved, handcrafted, local wine.

Going into its third year, the Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon starts at Stoller Winery in Dayton where runners will make their way past vineyards like Domaine Drouhin, Winter’s Hill and Vista Hills. Registration includes the official race shirt, a finisher’s medal, a race bib, a logo Pinot Noir wine glass and admission to the after-race party which includes tastings of acclaimed Dundee Hills wine as well as some tasty treats from local eateries. For Jesse Lange, race participant and Lange Estates Winery winemaker, it’s all about the vistas. “The views and wines are stunning. But the topography… love it for wines, but tough on the knees,” says Lange.

Meandering through some of the valley’s most prized and picturesque vineyards, the Wine Country Half Marathon also begins at Stoller Winery and finishes in Carlton with wine, music, food and festivities. Carrie Kalscheur, runner and direct sales manager for local winery REX Hill and A to Z Wineworks, has run it the last two years and plans on going back for more.

“The best part was the personal accomplishment, quickly followed by the team spirit,” she says. “While there’s healthy competition, there is also massive support, and many of our colleagues come to cheer us on even if they don’t run.” Registration includes a commemorative running shirt, finisher’s medal, personalized runner’s bib and a logo wine glass good for entry to wine tasting from local vintners.


Magan Denis / Courtesy of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The third annual Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life, Wheels to Wine bike ride starts and finishes at Willamette Valley Vineyard’s Tualatin Estate. Riders can choose from either a 35-mile route or the more demanding 65-mile course. Money raised goes to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

According to Joe Boyd, development manager for its Oregon chapter, they are hoping to raise over $65,000 with this year’s event. All riders successful in reaching the fundraising minimum will receive the official 2012 CF Cycle for Life event shirt. The more participants raise, the more “thank-you prizes” they earn including this year’s official riding jersey. Riders cruise by beautiful vineyards of the northern Willamette Valley with a post-race event featuring wineries like Montinore Estate and Plum Hill.

Maggie Lewis who, along with her husband, bikes for pleasure as well as to commute, has found a way to marry her interest in cycling with something even closer to her heart, her 18-year-old son living with Cystic Fibrosis. “Cycling is something that my husband and I do. Taking care of a child with CF is also something that we do. We have found a way to combine those interests,” says Lewis.

Jennifer Cossey works as the wine director for Veritable Quandary in Portland. She is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators. 

More Info

The Third Annual Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life, Wheels to Wine Bike Ride

  • Sunday, July 22
  • Registration is $35 - $45 with a minimum fundraising amount of $150.

Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon

  • Sunday, July 15
  • Registration is $75.

Wine Country Half Marathon

  • Sunday, September 2
  • Registration is $85-$105 for individual or teams; $160-$180 for two-person relays.

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