Wine country marathon a labor of love
Annual 'Fueled by Fine Wine' race draws international field, benefits local economy
On a whim, Chris Nagy decided to combine her two loves: wine and running. Five years later, the Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon is one of the best in the nation, rated 13th best half-marathon by Runners World and listed as a must do by Competitor Magazine.
Its just a funny little race in Dundee, Nagy said. But with 13.1 miles through the Dundee hills, its not an easy race. It is a difficult course.
But its meant to be more than just a race. With participants from as far as Germany and China, the race acts as an introduction to Oregon wine country.
Thirty to 35 percent (of the course) is through vineyards, just trying to get runners who come from all over the country to get a true sense of the area, she said. Its really just about showcasing the Dundee Hills AVA.
After completing the course, the runners are introduced to 25 local wineries, she added.
(They are) in huge white tents pouring wine tastings for runners to expose them to area wine, celebrate their brutal finish and just enjoy the afternoon. Its a great time in the park, Nagy said.
Theres a bluegrass band and Berts Chuck Wagon will be on site with barbecue.
Even though its become successful, Nagy said its her connections from working at Archery Summit Winery that has allowed the marathon to run fairly smoothly.
I think you just have to surround yourself with the right people who know the industry, she said. Its hard and definitely a stressful thing. Its a huge undertaking, I dont know why I do it, but its a labor of love.
Perhaps the best aspect for Nagy, aside from the race itself, is the end result.
Seeing how it all comes together and drives business to the community, its kind of my reward, she said. My marketing hat gets on and I want to make sure it drives impact (for the wineries). Theyve been very supportive.
The race is limited to 1,200 participants, but Nagy said there is a slight inconvenience to Dundee when runners are in certain areas.
Its also a great time to watch, grab a cup of coffee and lawn chair and see the runners on whats typically a sleepy little road, she said. Its a fun time for the community too. Sure traffic might be a little heavy, but again it does so much greater impact in the surrounding community. I hope that makes up for the little inconvenience.
Tickets sell out a few months prior to the race, this year slated for July 13. Runners start at 7 a.m. and should wrap up by 11 a.m. For more information or to view the route, visit www. fueledbyfinewine.com.