Desti­na­tion Race

Wine Glass Marathon, Corn­ing, N.Y.

Canadian Running - - CONTENTS -

When do­ing a wine coun­try race, it’s de­bat­able if ac­tu­ally hav­ing wine on course along with sports drink is a good idea. My pref­er­ence has al­ways been to leave the adult re­fresh­ments un­til af­ter the race, and while run­ning, fo­cus on en­joy­ing the fresh air, the sur­round­ings and maybe a splash or two of non-al­co­holic f luid, if need be. Be­sides, wine stains are slightly more chal­leng­ing to get out of a race shirt than Ga­torade.

The Wine­glass Marathon week­end in Corn­ing, N.Y., opts to let you ex­plore the re­gion’s viti­cul­ture on your own. In­stead, the fo­cus is on de­liv­er­ing a high qual­ity event, us­ing Corn­ing, one of the most im­por­tant and in­ter­est­ing cities in the Fin­ger Lakes re­gion, as the hub for race week­end. Ev­ery­thing from race kit pickup (and an im­pres­sive expo for a mid-sized race, all at the city’s ex­tra­or­di­nary glass mu­seum) to the crowd-lined main street fin­ish­ing chute re­veals that the or­ga­niz­ers put qual­ity first.

This at­ten­tion to ev­ery de­tail was honed over a nearly 40-year pe­riod, mak­ing the Wine­glass Marathon week­end on of the old­est and most cel­e­brated fix­tures in the North­east U.S. Speed demons love this course be­cause the au­tumn weather is usu­ally per­fect for run­ning fast. And the course is a gen­tle point-to-point; per­fect for run­ning a PB or Bos­ton Marathon qual­i­fy­ing time (as more than a third of the marathon fin­ish­ers do each year at this race).

Race week­end is capped at about 3,000 par­tic­i­pants across all events in or­der to pro­vide all run­ners with a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. On race morn­ing, all run­ners are shut­tled ei­ther 42.2k or 21.1k out from the fin­ish­ing area in Corn­ing. It’s like a mini Bos­ton or New York, rid­ing a school bus be­fore dawn and be­ing de­posited at a high school be­fore the start. The race takes over a stretch of coun­try road, and if you warm up by run­ning a few hun­dred me­tres in ei­ther di­rec­tion, the cows and horses from the sur­round­ing farms wan­der to their prop­er­ties’ edge to give you chor­tles of en­cour­age­ment. The course passes through a few town­ships with a sur­pris­ing amount of lo­cal crowd sup­port, again prob­a­bly due to the race’s long stand­ing and good rep­u­ta­tion. The marathon fol­lows the half course in the end, and both events fin­ish right in the heart of down­town Corn­ing to hun­dreds of spec­ta­tors lin­ing ei­ther side of his­toric Mar­ket Street. In the fin­ish­ing chute, run­ners are treated to ba­si­cally a full buffet of op­tions, as well as mas­sages, a hang-out area if you need to wait for a fam­ily mem­ber and, of course, the fin­isher’s medal. The bling is uniquely fit­ting: an all-glass tal­is­man, which goes well with the en­graved wine glass and mini bot­tle of bub­bly you’ll find in your race kit. All th­ese lit­tle de­tails make for a pre­mium and un­for­get­table get­away week­end in one of the pret­ti­est parts of the U.S., par­tic­u­larly as the leaves change colour.

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