Surrey Bacchus Half Marathon – The most fun you’ll ever have running! On Sunday 13th September we took on this Half Marathon at Denbie Wine Estate, Surrey. If you’ve not heard of it before this race is a little different – wine stations, mountains of sweets, post race hog roast, fancy dress and merriment! The race is organised by Events to Live – and they did a cracking job of it – maybe they should be called Events to Love.
Our clients convinced us to do this race and we are really glad they did. We were running as part of the Wine Festival Winchester team – all runners were from the wine industry. There were some speedy times from the team but we were taking it easy and enjoying the atmosphere.
For the kiddies, a fun run was available before the start of the Half Marathon. We assume there was no wine on this run – although we can’t be sure. Susie and Peter took part with their children so that everyone could be involved with the event. We watched them head off before meeting up with some friends before it was time for the Half to start.
There was a great atmosphere at the start. Everyone had made an effort to dress up and most people were running in small groups. Before we knew it, the race had started and we were heading to our first wine station!
Wine Station 1
Unless you are being serious and have a front spot, the beginning of the course is very crowded. The course heads out of the vineyard and into town, the terrain is quite hard and there is a bit of a hill. Due to the sheer amount of people, it is impossible to run all of this part. It was around 3 miles and we had hit the first wine station – wow, this was super busy! It was like a Next sale (back when they were cool). Lots of people desperate to grab a glass of the first wine sample.
Unfortunately, the bottles were all corked so the volunteers were working their socks off to get samples out and ready. They managed it tho – clearly they are pros. Maybe a corkscrew on the running belt is needed next year.
Wine Station 2
Following this stop, you run along the road for a little bit. It was still fairly busy here but it opened up a little so we ran on (probably our best stretch time wise!). It wasn’t long until we reached the next stop – we were expecting it to be a bit further but before we knew it we could see the wine. This stop was at the edge of a new housing development and it was great to see a band playing and cheering people on.
Wine Station 3
The course leaves the tarmac and heads back to trail, with a bit of uphill to help work off that booze. By this point, the crowds of runners had thinned out which made it much easier to do a bit of running! After passing a group of nuns (as you do) the next station was there and waiting. This was the first red wine (I think!) and we did spend a bit of time here, especially when this happened… you will need sound to fully appreciate this rendition of Delilah.
Wine Station 4
By this point, the group was getting a little merry. About 3 shots per person per station starts to add up. It was also getting quite warm – giving the effects of the alcohol an added bonus! As you can see from the photo the next stage involves a short hill and then along the field to an out and back part.
We waited here for a while – mostly in a toilet queue as this was the only non-portaloo on the course. The boys took full advantage of the ladies queuing by having several ‘one more for the road’ samples.
Wine Station 5
This was the killer stretch! You want more wine? Then climb that hill!
This is the only hard bit of the course and I felt smug that I ran in one go. The boys appeared to be in competition for who could make it up the hill and to the wine the fastest. We couldn’t help but notice that one of our group, Kez, was a little further behind. The sun was beating down as we ran up this one and we soon found out why Kez was falling back.
Hangover + wine + running + heat = vomiting Kez. Like a true champion she cleaned her nauseated palette with some sparkle and continued with the run.
Wine Station 6
What is the best thing about going up a hill? Knowing you get to go back down!
From here on, it was mostly downhill. Which was a good thing as the boys were hammered. Ever tried to herd cats? That what it was like trying to get these guys to move on from a wine station. There was a nice bit of tree cover from here to the next station and it was a beautiful view over the countryside.
When we got to this stop we were greeted with an entire table of wine. Dan was in such amazement he ordered me to take a photo as proof.
Unofficial Wine Station
Along the course we bumped into an unofficial wine station. The photo explains it better but as you can imagine we had to make a pit stop! This guy ran the course, dressed as a table – he had some serious legs!
Wine Station 7
The final stop! This was a short out and back and gave us time to mingle with a chilli pepper, a Mexican, Thor and some other randoms. We spent a long time here, making the most of it and chatting to the other bleary-eyed runners.
Once we removed the boys from this station (which warranted a medal in itself) it was the final stretch to the end. This was a lot of fun – it was a long downhill that we decided to spice up with a bit of dancing and sing-a-long.
It is relaxed, fun and will have you smiling the entire way round.
A brilliant race to get involved with. Slick event organisation from ETL, plenty of space, lots of toilet facilities, well fuelled pit stops and very happy marshals. If you have lost your running mojo then you should enter this race. A half marathon that is completely accessible for a newbie runner, because it doesn’t matter if you have to walk half of it! Fantastic bling too – a medal, drink, t-shirt and a hog roast.
I can’t wait until next year. Who is joining me?!