Today was the third annual Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon and my third time running this race that winds through beautiful Loudoun County. Once we’d arrived at Doukenie Winery, the location of the start and finish, the Cruisers gathered for our mandatory pre-race picture. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find Vamshi or Amit before the race.

Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon


Little country roads lead to the winery and with so many runners trying to get to the event, traffic gets very backed up. Buses are available from several area schools and hotels, but for many local runners, it’s easier and quicker to drive. This year, like the previous two years, not all of the runners were there in time and the race start was delayed (today’s race was delayed for 15 minutes). You can see runners milling around, taking additional photos, and continuing to stretch while we waited.


Today the start arch should have read, “HOT Races in Beautiful Places.” The temperature was about 72 degrees and humid at the start of the race, and about 82 degrees when I finished.

Our group of Cruisers started out together, but pretty quickly went our separate ways. Janet (Julie’s mom) and I stayed together the whole way. Joseph was the first Cruiser to finish the race, followed by Julie, and then Bill. Considering how hot it was, I would say that all of the Cruisers were happy with their race performance today.


Here is one of the many beautiful farms that we ran past.

Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon


These two goats asked to be in my blaaaahhhhhaaaahhhg!


This horse was checking out the runners. This may be Virginia Wine Country, but it’s Virginia Horse Country, too. The trainer said the horse used to race. I bet the horse was probably thinking, “I could take any of these slowpoke humans!”


I snapped a picture of this little country church because it fits so perfectly in the country scenery.


Vamshi caught up with Janet and me around mile ten. He ran with us for a few minutes and then took off. He looked strong and finished about ten minutes in front of us.


I think this is one of the most beautiful parts of the course. On the far left you can barely see the line of runners, and I think that I didn’t get them in the shot because of how I was starting to feel.

Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon


It was at this point (around mile ten) that I started to feel nauseous and noticed that I was no longer sweating. I didn’t feel overly hot, and my nausea was in waves so I kept plugging along. Janet and I took walk breaks as we needed them, probably starting around mile nine. We saw this ambulance bus around mile twelve. I jinxed myself by making the comment that I was glad to see it there and hoped I wouldn’t need the services of the EMS volunteers…


We rounded the curve and could see the Doukenie Winery silo in the distance. I had forgotten from last year that even though you could see it, it was a long way to the driveway where we would turn up the lane to the finish line. It looked so close, yet we were still about a half mile out…


Finally, Janet and I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:28:26, and just beyond there was a sea of finisher’s medals waiting to be placed around our and the other finishers’ necks. Those things are heavy!

Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon


Vamshi found us and we got a quick picture together. Notice that I’m still smiling and look like I’m feeling pretty good.

Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon


Shortly after my photo with Vamshi, my nausea and upset stomach returned. Bill took me to the medical tent where they put ice cold wet towels on my back and shoulders and gave me a cold bottle of water. I was amazed at how quickly I started feeling better. The medical tent volunteers were amazing and I’m very grateful they were there to help. With all of my racing experience, this was my first time visiting a medical tent.


I love the ribbon on this year’s medal. It is so colorful and fun! The shirt design just isn’t up to par with the previous year’s races, and I’m probably not going to wear it very much because it’s kind of baggy. I ordered a small like my two previous shirts (that fit perfectly), and it’s too big. Bummer, because it’s a very comfy shirt!


This race has so many positives that I know that the Cruisers will run it again next year. It’s well organized by Destination Races, it starts and finishes at a beautiful venue, the course is scenic, the volunteers are great, there are plenty of water stops and porta-potties, post-race snacks are pre-bagged so you don’t have to juggle everything, and the whole idea of a wine country race is amazing.

This year’s complaints were few for me… Most importantly, I’d like to see the race start on time and I would appreciate it if there were water bottles at the finish instead of little Dixie cups with water dispensers. If you’re interested in running this race next year, let me know and we can run it together (or at least hang out together before the race starts)!


  • Questions:
  • • Did you race today?
  • • How hot was it where you live?
  • • Have you ever visited the medical tent?