Santa Barbara Wine Country Half - Linda's Thoughts

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!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Half Marathon

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.

Exploding onto the Scene: A Run Oregon review of the 2015 Volcano Half Marathon

In my second weekend of back-to-back races, the inaugural 2015 Volcano Half Marathon exploded onto the scene and into my heart on Sunday, May 3, 2015. This race, put on by Run With Paula, was everything a new race should be: well-organized, unique, measured, and fun. And Paula knocked it out of the park.

After competing in the Sisters Better Half Marathon and Bend Marathon and Half in late April, and the Willamette Mission Trail Challenge on May 2, this race was the culmination of 4 races, 8 days, and 45 racing miles. I wasn’t necessarily tired, but I was just a bit sluggish. The perfect temperatures and blue skies were a natural remedy and elixir for a weary morning – and it didn’t hurt that the race was in my hometown as well.

The finish of both distances (half and 5k) were at Volcanoes Stadium, the home of the Single-A Minor League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Volunteers were extremely helpful through the quick registration and packet-pick up lines – a theme that was very prevalent throughout the course of the event.

Following the quick shuttle ride to Willamette Mission State Park, we all took off into the quiet and peaceful rural streets of unincorporated Keizer. This is an area I am very familiar with, as I have done many a training bike rides out on these roads. We got to pass hop farms (including a farm owned by Hood River’s Full Sail Brewery), red clover fields, and farmland as far as the eye could see.

While the course was not closed to traffic, there wasn’t much motorized traffic at all. In fact, there seemed to be more race personnel and local fire/police assistance than anything else. I never felt unsafe at all. The hill around mile 4 was a bit of a challenge, but we quickly headed downhill shortly thereafter and continued with a steady straight course. This portion of the course, I was also very familiar with, as it is a running route AND the reverse direction of the Keizer Iris Festival Half Marathon loop that has been around for a handful of years. The last few miles spit us back out into civilization for a straight stretch on Lockhaven Dr. and some neighborhood streets before the stadium came into sight.

As I mentioned initially, the organization and support were fantastic.The aid stations were never an issue and they appeared with great frequency. Additionally, the volunteers were amazing. Everyone was paying attention, smiling, and some were even blowing bubbles. obviously Paula’s happy demeanour had rubbed off on everyone!

After the race, we were treated to a free hamburger (hotdog or garden burger), drink, chips, and cookies – as well as standard post-race faire. Live music by the Ben Rice Band was providing a great auditory background as we waited for results soaking up the mid-morning sunshine.

If you haven’t run in Keizer before, I highly recommend this race. If you haven’t run a Run With Paula event before, I highly recommend this race. If you like quiet, rural runs to lose yourself in the serenity of, I highly recommend this race.


View full results here.

The next Run With Paula event is the Independence Day 10k, which takes place in the city of Independence and the famous Rogue Brewery hopyards.

PRC Winter 5K Series

At the suggestion of a running coach late in 2014 I looked to add some 5K’s to my training. The PRC Winter 5K Series was coming up so I decided to run all 3 of them. The entire race is really fun. You get to the store greeted by the smiles of Dave and Paula and many of their long time volunteers. Grab a water or coffee and head out to warm up. At several of races they’ve had Nike and Saucony displaying shoes, and if you’d like you can run the race in a pair.

The course is really run. It starts out fairly flat, then dips down a hill into a park where you complete the out and back section (with the heavy rains this year, we deviated up a small grassy hill, which gives you a fun cross country feel :)). Coming home at mile 2 you have about a .5 mile slight uphill to get the blood flowing and then .5 mile back to the finish with a slight downhill the last few hundred yards.

Upon returning to the store you’re greeted by Paula and her crew cooking pancakes. You’ll find a couple tables of vendors like Swiftsock, Garmin, Active Edge Wellness to name a few. Dave reads the results, during which there are lots of prizes and giveaways!!!

It’s been a really fun series with great support for everyone from the “fasties” to the walkers. I’ve run 5 of these now and each one keeps getting better. I plan on running the next race in February. The predict-a-mile.

Great way to start your Thanksgiving Day!
  • Melanie reviewed 1 year ago
  • last edited 1 year ago

My friend Sarah told me about the race just a few days before hand, and I decided to join her! I was very pleasently surprised with the price of the race, especially since I was registering so late! The morning was COLD, probably the coldest race for me so far, and I was so thankful for the hot coffee at the start of the race. The 10K was two loops, clearly marked, and separated the 10K and 5K runners so that we could easily keep running. I actually enjoyed the loop so that I could plan and conserve my energy for the hill in the middle of the course. Overall, I was very pleased with the race and definitely want to do it next year! Oh, and I loved the medal!

N2S - Linda's Thoughts

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!

Great PR Course

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!!

Wine, running and song. I can't ask for anything more.

By far, the Destination Race in Santa Ynez/Solvang has been my favorite half. The scenery is beautiful and includes bison, cows, horses, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, longhorn, and my favorite, a turkey at mile one…just right on the street, hanging out. Only in Santa Ynez. The race IS hilly but was fast for me. Last year I PR’d in this race and this year I was right at the same time. I didn’t use the porta potties, but there are TONS. Also, plenty of water stations-every 1.5 miles or so. Last year was hot so they came in handy. The miles are well-marked and the race is easy to follow.

I love this race because it’s small. It doesn’t take long to get started at all. I’ve been in races that took easily 20 minutes for my wave to get started. I didn’t run with a pacer but they have them for just about every 15 minute interval up to 3 hours. The organizers are great and friendly. They remembered my crazy husband from LAST year! We did the finisher’s party at Lavender Oak and it was a lot of fun. Beautiful out there. If there is a wine tour post race, do it! We did it last year and had too much fun.

There is a post race wine and music event, which is great but we did find it too crowded so we didn’t do it this year. Post race, we typically need to rest a bit and we found the area too small for the number of people who were participating but it’s a great deal. I highly recommend it to runners who don’t really need to recover after the race. It’s a good price for all the beer or wine you can drink. I plan to sign up for the one in Oregon when we run that one.

Santa Ynez Valley is great for wine tasting. Even if you don’t tour the area (which you REALLY should), there are tasting rooms in Solvang, SY and Los Olivos every 10 feet. You can’t go wrong.

Also, if you are a single guy, this is YOUR race. Tons of chicks out having a good time and drinking lots of wine. My husband tells every single male runner he knows that he should really be coming out to these races to meet cool chicks who like to run. It’s a great run for groups of girls or couples (like me and my guy). We are trying to talk two friends from Alberta, Canada into joining us next August in Oregon. It makes for a great long weekend.

Mommathon has something for everyone!
  • arsellers reviewed 1 year ago
  • last edited 1 year ago

I am very fond of this race for a number of reasons. First and foremost is that it is put on by Moms Run This Town, a free running club geared toward getting moms of all fitness levels together for the sake of fitness and friendship. MRTT gave a portion of the Mommathon proceeds to a charity, Girls on the Run, that empowers girls to stay active and fit. I also really liked that MRTT partnered with Uberthons to run the chip timing and other technical logistics. My results were instantly available after I crossed the finish line. The Mommathon course was familiar, being the same route used for the Falcon Relay I had run previously. I enjoyed the fitness challenges post race. And let me tell you, tire jumps are NOT easy after running 6.2 miles!! Mommathon is not just for moms! Men can compete and win prizes too. Kids got their own free race on the high school track as well. What this means is that Mommathon is an event that the whole family can attend and enjoy. There truly is something for everybody.

Great race!!
  • Allison reviewed 1 year ago
  • last edited 1 year ago

What a well-organized race for a first time race director! The morning was seamless: from packet pickup, to a cluster-free start line, to the multitude of refreshments on the course, to the wide open finish. Not a PR course because of the hill at the beginning, but a fun time for all nonetheless!

I’ve included a link to my blog and personal race report if that’s helpful: :)

Oregon Wine Country Half - Linda's Thoughts

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!

Fun, Fast, Flat Race

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.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A small, inexpensive race that's certainly worth your time

The price is right, the atmosphere pleasant, the people friendly, and you get a tasty bag of hazelnuts at the finish line. The course is a bit of a challenge — there’s a climb at the start but then a fast downhill and some flat streets to the finish. Good race for a winter racing tune-up, and when you’re done running you can enjoy the nice vendors at the Hazelnut Festival. There’s a decent-sized, multi-ability crowd, and plenty of speedy competition if you’re up for some hustle. Indoor bathrooms and warmth at the start, plenty of roadside parking near the start/finish. Race Northwest always does a nice job, I’ve found.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Challenging but so worth it!

I run the half marathon every year, and it’s become one of my very favorites. The expo is great — good selection of vendors, guest speakers, and booths for races that will give you great discounts if you sign up at the expo. The participant shirt is a nice, long-sleeved tech shirt. Packet pickup is organized and painless. You start down by the EMP and the Space Needle and go out by some of Seattle’s most beautiful buildings — architecture buffs will enjoy this race. The course has some climbs, but nothing that will ruin your life if you’ve trained for them. There are plenty of port-o-potties and aid stations along the course, with great traffic control and volunteer support. Last year it was freezing so the spaces around the aid stations were icy — if the weather is cold be prepared. After you leave the city, you’ll go through some beautiful neighborhoods, so you get a nice mix of urban and residential, with some lovely views of the lake. There’s a peaceful climb through the arboretum, and a super cool run through a tunnel. You’ll finish on the turf at the Memorial Stadium, which is always fun. The medal is quality, and in previous years they were being handed out by some most excellent military folks. This race has one of the best post-race situations out there — you’ll go inside and thaw out, get some tasty soup, plenty of hydration, another chance to pick up more swag from vendors, and relax with all the other happy finishers.

Pick Your Poison ROCKS!
  • Eric reviewed 1 year ago
  • last edited 1 year ago

Go Beyond Racing puts on a variety of races of different distances in Oregon. I’ve participated in too many to get online and rate them all, and they are all top notch. However, PYP is special. You get to camp in a park that is traditionally limited to day use. You get to choose your surface type, your distance, and how many people you want on a team. The trails are beautiful single track, and there is probably only about 5% road if you choose to run the trail option. It’s a beautiful area, and beautiful time of year to be outside racing in Oregon. Did I mention beer, movies, chocolate fountains, an incredible volunteer staff, and well stocked aid stations? If you are coming from out of state and thinking about a destination race, or if you are a local just looking for a great community race, THIS IS IT! I don’t have any photos to share, but I know there is a Facebook site specifically for this race (as well as most if not all the Go Beyond Racing events).

I LOVE this race

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.

the BEST

The best series I have ever been a part of! A wonderful price for five well run races. I cannot speak highly enough about the Portland Trail Series. It is a low-key race experience, that is extremely well run. The intimate atmosphere encourages finding new running buddies as well as fostering the competitive spirit! Although every course is tough, it allows anyone from newbie to elite to finish feeling accomplished. An added bonus, if you return your bib number post race, they donate money to the Forest Park Conservancy. Sign up quick, the best kept secret in trail racing fills up FAST.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Bank of America Chicago Marathon

At least once in a lifetime runners should compete in a World Marathon Major. It’s an incredible, unforgettable experience, regardless of the outcome of the race. I chose to run the 2015 Bank of Chicago Marathon as a last attempt at an Olympic Trials Qualifying Standard. I didn’t hit my goal, but I still completely enjoyed running in such a huge, high energy marathon.

The best thing about running a race like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the intense energy of the experience. I was so motivated by the company of 45,000 runners, all with their own goals and reasons for running the race. You can’t help but feel inspired on race morning, standing in the corral, waiting for the gun. I love the positive energy brought by a crowd of dream chasers.

With 45,000 runners, It is important for a race to be well-organized. The Chicago Marathon was exceptional in this regard. They thought of every detail. Packet pickup was relatively short and painless. The race provided shuttles to and from the expo. We were in and out in no time. I will say, give yourself extra time on race morning. Even with supreme organization, it takes awhile to get 45,000 runners through the security checkpoints and on to the starting line.

I was impressed with the amount of fluids and fuels available on the course. I had no trouble getting enough Gatorade and water from the volunteers. Stations were placed at least every two miles. One running tip: Don’t go for the first cup you see. Run a little further down the line. This prevents collisions and backup on the course.

The course is billed as flat and fast. There is a small incline at the 26 mile mark. It is placed perfectly to feel like Mt Everest at the end of the race. The course is definitely fast, but the repetitive pounding takes it’s toll. There are also many turns through the neighborhoods. Failing to run the tangents will add time and distance to your race. There is a blue line that indicates the shortest distance through the course. Stick to that line.

As with all marathons, weather can be a total crap shoot. This year, the weather was a bit warm for marathoning, with temps in the 50s-60’s. However, it was pretty breezy, with winds in the 15-20 mph range. It wasn’t too noticeable during the first half, but definitely hindered the second half of the race. Just be prepared for anything, and adjust your race plan accordingly.

A couple of tips for a great Chicago Marathon experience: First, fly in at least two days before the race. It takes extra time and energy to get from the airport to downtown Chicago, get familiar with the start and finish areas, and pick up packets. Give yourself time for error, and to relax. Secondly: Do not wear a Garmin in the race. Wear a basic watch, and learn your splits. With the underpass, the many turns, and all the buildings, I guarantee that your GPS will be off. It’s best not to rely on it’s accuracy. Third, write your name down your arms or display it prominently on your body. The crowds are amazingly supportive. If they can see your name, they will cheer for you, which provides a much needed energy boost to the struggling marathoner.
Finally, don’t let the crazy energy pull you out too quickly. It’s easy to give in to adrenaline, nerves, and thousands of screaming spectators. Rein it in early.

I enjoyed the Chicago Marathon immensely. I wish I had scheduled a couple more days in the city for sightseeing. Chicago is a beautiful, tourist friendly city. Turn the running trip into a mini-vacation. There is so much to do and see. I missed out by being a little too focused and business minded in my approach to the race. In addition, make sure to take it all in. I remember nothing from the course except an Elvis impersonator. The course showcases 29 Chicago neighborhoods, so look up occasionally. A marathon of this size and magnitude should be about much more than the outcome. It should be about creating lasting running memories. Enjoy the experience.


Luckython has become a St Patrick’s Day tradition for me. The course is scenic and green, with just a few small hills to make it a challenge. The race director, Uberthons, runs a top-notch event. Races start on time, big mile marker banners throughout the course, plenty of aid stations and volunteers and instant results. Special touches include age group recognitions, a generous baked potato bar, and ginormous finshers medals. Luckython is a great way to participate a fun St Patrick’s themed race without battling the big city crowds.

So well run and helpful to boot!
  • Jonathan hawes reviewed 8 months ago
  • last edited 6 months ago

This race started years ago as an idea to help those in need is Sherwood. While still the case, this race now boasts 2000+ Runners and walkers… each year the organization has been improving. DJs pumping up the crowd, raffles, free coffee and snacks, fun turkey headwear… this event is a Sherwood (and more) party!

Walkers head out early on their own course… then the 5 and 10k’s head out loosely segmented by time. Courses split after ~2.5k…. the 10k heads off on a great rolling backroad… beautiful! The 5k heads back on awesome wooded trails… neither is hard core hilly…. but you will work if you want it.

Running this race makes you feel part of a community with so many families around…. and with chip timing (and INSTANT results in email)… a great race for the avid runner too. ’16 was the worst weather EVER! But it didn’t matter… what a blast!

Marathons can be fun!!!

2015 was the second time I had the pleasure of running the New York City Marathon. I first ran it in 2010 and treated it more as a race. I was in the first wave, which meant it was still crowded yet I felt like it thinned out enough to have my own space and to run my own race. I loved every minute of the race that year and it quickly made its way to the top of my list. This year, I went back to New York to run with my husband and a few friends. Based on past injuries and just where I was mentally, I made the decision early on not to “race” this event. Instead, I moved back to wave 2 and started with my husband. It was definitely more crowded and we had to weave through people most of the time. I would say this would not be a PR or “race” course if you are in the later waves…wave one is possible. The marathon starts on Staten Island and crosses into Brooklyn for the first 1/2. The streets are lined with people the entire time…it only thins out when you start the climb to the bridge that will take you into Queens. The race continues through Queens and then you cross the Queensborough Bridge into Manhattan. First Avenue is CRAZY!! The crowds are incredible…but then you come into the Bronx and in my opinion this was hands down the best borough in terms of crowd support, energy and enthusiasm. Finally, you cross back into Manhattan and finish in Central Park. The course is relatively flat…except for the bridges that take you from borough to borough. Crowds are incredible. Both years I ran the weather was pretty perfect, but it can be windy. Bottom line, I think everyone that runs marathons needs to experience New York…at least once :)

Great as a first race!
  • Krisi Quayle reviewed 1 year ago
  • last edited 1 year ago

Super low key but really well organized! Only downside is the 10k is a two-time loop. Oh well, it’s a pretty one anyway :) Put on by a great group of mom runners. It’s a fun one!

Well-organized, fun race with a great course!
  • NW Runner reviewed 6 months ago

I ran the 10K in 2016 and 2017. I was so impressed with the 2016 race I convinced 5 others to join me in 2017. The course takes you through historic Fort Vancouver, along the Columbia River, and through a slightly industrial part (though it is actually really nice) of Vancouver. This year there were about 950 people, most of whom were 5K-ers & walkers. I never felt crowded, but I was never alone. The swag you get for this race is absolutely incredible for the price. I love that this is a fundraiser, all the money goes towards providing utilities for the needy. I will definitely return in 2018. I love the immediate race results too.

Wonderful marathon
  • Amy reviewed 2 years ago

I ran the California International Marathon in 2015 and thought it was a great race. CIM is a point-to-point course that starts out in Folsom and ends near the Capitol building in Sacramento. My friend and I stayed in a hotel in Folsom so we could sleep a little later race morning without having to catch ultra-early race shuttles to the start. Folsom was a great place to stay, we were across the street from Whole Foods and nice outdoor mall. The expo was nice, it was super easy to get in and out to pick up our race packets, and there were plenty of vendors if you enjoy browsing and shopping. Race morning, the race started right on time, and I remember it being a slight downhill start. CIM is lauded as a fast course, and it is, but I was surprised with how rolling the course was – more uphill than I anticipated. I just tried to keep my effort consistent whether I was on flat, uphill, or downhill, and my splits stayed fairly consistent. On the course map, you’ll notice a reference to some free-range chickens around mile 10-11. My friend and I literally almost tripped over a chicken, one of the funniest race moments ever, so keep an eye out for those chickens. :) The aid stations were great, and I remember the mile markers being accurate. It was a nice size of marathon, not too big or too small. There were always people around me I could run with, but I never really felt crowded after the first 1/2 mile or so. I thought running into Sacramento the last few miles was really pretty, and there was tons of crowd support down there. Overall, this marathon was very well-done, and people post lots of quick times out there.

The best 5k ever!
  • Jay Ricker reviewed 4 months ago

This 5k is the best! I took my young children and they had a blast! The staff and volunteers are extremely friendly and they go the extra mile to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated. We will definitely be signing up for this race every year from here on out!

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