I have ran this race a few times and have always really enjoyed it. For one, it is very close to where i live which is convenient and secondly, the fun festival and friendly environment makes it a very low stress race yet still competitive to get a fast workout/race in. This past year however had some changes that i didn’t love which is why i gave the lower rating. It started in a different location, right on the running path making for a very narrow start and lots of bottleneck areas. I was in the 5K so didn’t run into too many people but heard the other distances had a lot of issues with this. It also started very late (10ish am) which is such a late start for such a hot time of year (and it was HOT). Finally, the organization of the prizes was a bit frustrating. Top prizes were advertised as gift cards but ended up being shirts which took months to get in the mail. In fact, i didn’t receive the shirt until after first receiving a medal from a race i never ran?? (Had to call the race organizers about it)
All this said, i would still probably do the race again hoping it was earlier in the day:)
I have ran this race one time and loved it! have been wanting to get back to run it again but can’t stay healthy… The course is so beautiful and i actually really enjoyed the hills. I also loved the burgers after:) I would suggest getting there very early as parking and back up of cars getting to the race is really bad! It took me so long to park that i just about missed the start of the race and had no time to go to the bathroom. There is also a section during the race towards the end around mile 10 or so that is on gravel which i didn’t enjoy, although this may have changed as it has been a while since i have ran it. The parking/bathroom issue is the reason i didn’t rate this race with 5 stars. Overall great race that i hope to do again!
- jtwilliams reviewed 2 years ago
i’ve run this race most years since i first ran it back in 2006 – it’s gotten a lot more popular over the years, and deservedly so. the course is great: there’s a short, steep uphill at the start but the rest of the race is gentle ups and downs, generally a pretty quick course. also beautiful, as you’re running through vineyards practically the entire race. the race is always well-organized, occasionally the mile markers are a little bit off, but not by too much, and there are plenty of water/electrolyte stations along the way. everything in the sonoma town square at the end is always great too – good recovery food/drink, plenty of free samples, and everybody loves all the wine (and lagunitas). last year was especially fun, as they got some american elites to come out and run (lauren fleshman, ryan and sara hall), and meb as the lead bike. highly recommended, and i’ll be back again this summer!
- running favorites reviewed 2 years ago
The one thing wrong with this race is that it’s too good! You’ll need to sign up quickly once registration opens. The course is fast with a few rolling hills. It’s exceptionally well organized, plenty of porta-potties at the start, along the course and at the finish. The wine festival after the race is really great in the lovely Sonoma City park. Although run in July, the morning starts are almost cool, if not even chilly.
The Race Director has done a great job in attracting top running celebrities (Ryan & Sara Hall, Dick Beardsley, Meb Keflezighi, Bart Yasso, Tesfaye Alemayehu, Sergio Reyes, Lauren Fleshman and many others) to run the race and/or speak at the Expo.
This is one of the top half’s in the country – don’t miss it!
The first time I ran Santa Barbara Wine Country Race was my 2nd Destination Race event. I loved the first one in Oregon so much that I thought – why not go to Santa Barbara? We (Bruce, Koko & I) stayed in Solvang, just blocks from the finish. The area is so beautiful – full of incredible oak trees, Danish building, the Solvang Brewery and wineries. Even though it was only my second DR race, the staff remembered us! Destination Races doesn’t just put on a great half marathon – they give you an experience you will never forget! The pre-race dinners are incredible and this was no exception! We had dinner with a local photographer/runner and other runners from all over. The course is beautiful – going past vineyards, through Los Olivos and up that lovely hill! Last year, there was a couple who stopped off in Los Olivos and got married! Like all DR races, the organization, race support and post race wine tasting party was spectacular!
It just seemed like one of the races one should do – running through wine country that we have visited for over 20 years – what could be better! Getting into the race is quite the adventure! The first year, I tried the lottery with no luck. The next year was even more entertaining. The signup just happened to be on the same day we were driving from Park City Utah (home) to Moab for the Winter Sun 10K. Bruce drove as I tried to enter on my iPad as we drove by the Bookcliffs in Southern Utah – not very good reception through there! Needless to say, I didn’t get in. But, I made it in 2014! I am so glad I did. By then it was my 7th DR race – not bad for a girl from Utah! The weekend started with the Welcome Reception at Cuvaison Winery – the race start! Saw our DR friends and met new ones – the racers you meet are all so inspiring! Then, the big event – meeting Meb att the pre-race dinner! He is a treasure! So humble and so inspiring! The race exceeded my expectations! We ran through beautiful, rural Carneros Valley. It was stunning! Rolling hills (little ones) and beautiful vineyards. It was a perfect, foggy morning to run! I was inspired by all of the Team Challenge runners! And then there was the Guinness stop and the wine stop along the way! But, nothing prepared me for the finish – our flag flying high in front of the Sonoma Plaza!! This has to be on everyone’s bucket list of “Not to Miss” Half Marathons!
This was my first DR race, back in 2012. I saw the ad somewhere and talked Bruce into an Oregon Wine Country Half/Coast vacation. Even though we live fairly close (Park City, UT), we had never visited the Oregon Coast and I had never been to Crater Lake. Seemed like the perfect run/vacation and it was! Little did I know at the time that I would become hooked on DR races and become one of their most faithful runners! We signed up for the Welcome Reception and the Pre-Race dinner. I think it is an important part of the DR experience to enjoy these events. You get to know the staff (family now), fellow runners and elite runners. The start at Stroller was beyond amazing – a full moon and Mount Hood! That inspiration took you through the countryside race almost effortlessly. Then the finishing wine party in Carlton is to die for! Wine, music and friends after a great run – what could be better! I have now run 3 of these and can’t wait for this year. Last year, we rented a cottage in Carlton and I ran along the country road near the finish by myself the day before the race. Just me and the farmers! If you are in the area, please join me this year in my pre-race run!
I don’t know how they do it, but the organizers manage to have a smooth event for 35,000 people. The 5 and 8k runs are fast and flat, but very crowded — PRs may be challenging, but you’ll be having such a good time you won’t care. The 15k goes uphill, and then has some more uphill, so it’s not for the faint of heart, but as with the rest of the runs it’s well supported with water, electrolyte drink, and on the 15k/half they had Clif gels) and the crowds are cheerful. Plenty of porta-potties at start, but not sure if I saw any on the course. Half-marathoners get to tackle the hills in some of the hardest miles of a half marathon, so if you’re into self-punishment, sign up for that distance. Only complaint — the fast halfers and the 15k folks merged at one point, and the 15kers didn’t get over out of the way of the speedy half runners. I don’t know how to fix that kind of stupid, so maybe roping off the parts of the course that merge would be helpful.
The organizers put on a pretty organized event, and are very responsive to runner suggestions and issues. The course is nice, but parts of the roads are cambered on a slant that can be tough on tired legs. Giving it 4.5 stars because having to pass the finish line at mile 9 is a mean trick to play on people. Shuttle system worked fine, but one year they were late to pick us up so we got to the start just as the race started. Finishing on the track is a super nice touch! The medals and shirts are always nice and there’s plenty of course support.
Super organized, with the participant’s needs at the forefront. Great energy, nice course through some lovely parts of historic Vancouver. Great shirts, great medals (which seem to get bigger every year, I think they’re the size of a teacup saucer now,) excellent course support with water, electrolyte drink (bring your own gels) and cheerful folks at every stop. Parking can be a bit of a hassle, so get there early. Brewfest is nice and wasn’t super crowded. Can usually get a deal on next year’s race if you sign up after the run. Great value for what you get — other races could learn from these guys for sure.
This is a great run — well organized, big crowd but not crowded, DOWNHILL all the way to the finish. Pasta dinner and BEER at the finish line. Fun if you like running in a city, and going over bridges. Parking can be a bit chaotic, and get there early for the shuttle, but it’s what you should expect out of a city run. The only reason I’m giving it four stars instead of five is the shuttle ticketing process is kind of awkward. Have someone local drop you off and pick you up to save the hassle and the fee.
This is a must-do for any half or full marathon addict. It truly is flat, so it attracts some super fast runners, and is great for first-timers. Scenic course through some beautiful countryside. It is usually pretty hot (by Oregon standards) so be prepared for the temps to rise quickly. Course support is adequate. If you take the shuttle, tuck some money into your tights so you can shop at the cute farm store. Slower runners may finish to find the ice baths to be pools of warm water. There are no wave starts or pace markings at the start, so the beginning is always a cluster of people who run varying speeds trying to not mash each other. I don’t know why they won’t do wave starts or have an early start for walkers. I even saw a pregnant walker line up in the very front of the line. The parking is nuts — if you want to drive yourself, get there even earlier than you planned on, or take one of the earliest shuttles if you get stressed easily about arriving on time. There’s always a backup of traffic.
I agree with the other reviewer, it was really crowded into a small space, and started WAY to early for a very hot day. There was another run in the same park so they had to wait for that run to get done/started/whatever. I switched from the 1/2 to the 10k so I wouldn’t die of the heat. Course had some wicked hills, so anything other than the 5k can’t be described as flat. Nice medals and atmosphere, but the 5kers ate all the pancakes!
Smooth packet pickup and plenty of porta-potties at start. Nice course, good course support, and you get to run over bridges twice. Not super hilly or challenging. Thought I’d gotten a shiny new PR, but the course had to be shortened at the last minute, and they didn’t tell us until it was over. Hope they work out the kinks with the course, because it was great to get to finish up to the sound of blues. OK shirt, nice medal. Worth sticking with until they get the kinks figured out.
This is a fun event, very big and they do put a lot of effort into making it festive and enjoyable for runners. Packet pickup was smooth, course suppport was adequate (bring your own gels) lots of volunteers. Tons of porta-potties, and if they see half the crowd standing in line they’ll wait a few minutes for you. No wave or pace start, so be prepared to mow down the walkers who march right to the front of the line. Nice relatively flat course, but be prepared for some grumpy North Portlandites who curse out the volunteers directing traffic and try to gun it through the intersections. The shuttle system worked fine, but can get a little backed up. After party is crowded but fun, soup was tasty. Loved the shirt and the medal. In the past I’ve missed the cutoff date for the “fancy” shirt, and tried to exchange the “latecomer” shirt for the “fancy” one, but despite the piles of leftover “fancy” shirts you’re not allowed to exchange. But you can buy the “fancy” shirt the next year for $5.00. Seems lame if you just paid $90 for the race — give a bro a shirt, y’all!
- SqueakMatteson reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 1 year ago
This is a very well-organized marathon. The whole town comes out to cheer you on; the crowd support is fantastic. There will be belly dancers, pirates, rock bands, bagpipers, and at least one person handing out beer and/or aspirins. Course support is water and Ultima drink, so bring your own gels. Course is challenging — not the worst, but not easy; there are some climbs in the miles you feel least able to climb! Plenty of porta-potties all along the route. Great swag, but I’m giving 4.5 out of 5 because they give out too much crap that you don’t want, like a “finisher’s coin,” but took away the 2nd short-sleeved shirt, which was a useful item. They also say you get a “finisher’s jacket” when in reality it’s a tissue-thin cooldown wrap that is disposable after one use. First-timers will be miffed when they don’t get an actual jacket. There are plenty of runners of all paces so you won’t feel alone in the wilderness at Mile 18. I don’t know what kind of experience the walkers have had, but I finish towards the back of the running pack (5 hr) and there’s always plenty of after-race snacks, shirts and medals.
- pdxrunnergirl reviewed 2 years ago
This year (2015) I ran the 8k but in other years I raced the 15k and 5k. For being such a big race it is well organized in regards to the start and finish area and support areas but the races always seem to be difficult to navigate with the crowds. This year I was in the lead pack of women in the 8k and after the turnaround on Naito we were in traffic and all the way up Broadway. We had a path on the left side of the road but racers from other distances end up taking up much of the road not realizing we are coming through much faster. There is usually great competition at Shamrock though, a lot of the local sub elites come out and it makes for an exciting race. The hill up Broadway was longer and harder than I knew about! Overall a good positive experience. I was easily able to get a porta-pottie before the race and after I did a workout so didn’t imbibe but I hear there are lots of good post race treats. I almost forgot, they give you your photos for FREE! Who does that?!!! So nice.
- Guest reviewed 2 years ago
I ran the 8k with a friend, and that’s how you should do the Shamrock — the crowds are HUGE, the music is booming, and if you’re a mid-pack runner, there’s thousands of people elbow-to-elbow with you so there’s no point in getting freaked out about your time. Bib pickup was smooth, but the shirt pickup was kind of a free-for-all. The lines for chowder and beer were loooong. But still fun. The free race photos are a great perk. All in all, a well-done event considering the sheer size of it.
- Guest reviewed 2 years ago
I can’t accurately assess this as a “running” event because it’s a fun run, that is actually quite fun! Packet pickup is a breeze, and you get to stretch out on the school track and see what great costumes people are wearing. If you’re into shirts, buy one ahead of time, because they often don’t have extras for sale. Running in front of the crowds lined up for the parade route is a BLAST! The volunteers are very friendly, and they have water afterwards. Parking is a nightmare, but it’s a PDX event, so that’s to be expected. Not enough porta potties, so get there early and get in line!
- Ashleyaob reviewed 2 years ago
The Shamrock experience is always a good one. I have run the 5k for the last 3 years in a row and enjoyed it all three times. However, I probably won’t do it again. The race directors bill the 5k as a “run” and not “race,” so maybe that is why they do not pay too much attention to the finish. From mile 1.5 onward, the 5k runners are mixed into a sea of 8k runners. Which means for the last half of the race the lead 5k group is weaving in and out of slower 8k runners. It is pretty difficult to find a straight path and actually race it. It seems like an easy problem to solve – divide the road into two parts: 5k and 8k. Especially in the last 800 meters or so. Anyhow, it is always fun to be out there and participate, but I will either do one of the other events or skip it next year.
- LJack13 reviewed 2 years ago
This was a terrific race! I did this in 2013 with two of my girlfriends and will do it again. I’ll admit this was an incredibly hilly course and if you’ve not been hill training it will trash your legs. The race was very well organized from packet pick up, tons of volunteers on the course and at aid stations, to the awards ceremony, to the wine tasting. YES, wine tasting after the race from about 20 local wineries. And the pours are quite generous!! My favorite take away was the race shirt though. I’ve done hundreds of races, but this is a shirt I wear regularly. I cannot recommend this race enough.
- carmonaj reviewed 2 years ago
I have ran the Eugene Half Marathon twice now and had a great experience both times. The course is great, mostly flat with some hills to break up the monotony. I love that it starts with the marathoners and runs the marathon course for the majority of the race. This allows for lots of runners around to pace off of as well as plenty of water stops and crowds of people cheering. They do an excellent job putting such a large race on. Definitely a favorite!!
- carmonaj reviewed 2 years ago
This race is a must if you haven’t ran it. The atmosphere is really great and the area where the race takes place is beautiful. The course is pancake flat so you can run fast at this race. It can get hot so it is nice they start the race early. There are lots of porta-potties around before hand and the strawberry shortcake after is really nice! I did hear that they ran out of water for the marathon one year but i don’t ever remember having an issue with a water shortage. Parking has been an issue in the past so i just made sure to get to the race REALLY early. I haven’t ran this race in the past few years so parking may have changed.
I just love this race! I have ran the 10K a few times now and have gotten a PR every time. It starts on a downhill and the rest of the course is pretty flat. Just a great time of year for a race when you have been training all summer. It brings out some very fast women which is nice and they have a nice post race party after:)Typically this course is well marked and accurate. It was just this past year that i missed many mile markers? I heard others did too so not sure if the marking was the best but it was still an accurate distance. Parking is also somewhat of a hassle b/c they have shuttles (you pay extra for:() but i have always had someone drop me off at the start and arranged a car for the finish which makes it very easy.
- bcforster reviewed 2 years ago
I ran the hop hop half this Saturday as a workout for the upcoming Boston Marathon. I knew I wanted to run slightly faster than marathon pace, but not necessarily race. Once on the path along Marine Drive there was a definite headwind to deal with. I instantly decided that the tail wind on the way back would be a nice advantage for running a negative split..so I stuck with my plan of running marathon pace for the first 8-9 miles and then cutting it down to half marathon pace for the finish. The course is flat, with some rollers on the path. While it was nice to run somewhere new and different, the path is very long and straight…which means you can see where you are headed for most of the race…a good and a bad I thought this race was well organized, as most Foot Traffic races are. While I did not partake in the after race treats, the finish area seemed well stocked with goodies, food, etc. My only gripe for this race would be the turnaround around miles 7-8. Here, you actually had to do 3 turnarounds, once after going down and back up a hill, and then a sharp turn to add on a bit on a poorly maintained path-like area. I never like turnarounds in races, but I know they are typically part of faster courses…however having three in less than a mile was a little frustrating. Luckily, once you got through that, you had a tailwind and a mostly straight shot back home so all in all the course was good. All in all, I would recommend this race.