Combining running and wine tasting turns out to be the perfect pairing

Combining running and wine tasting turns out to be the perfect pairing

Half Corked Marathon runs through Oliver vineyards May 25

By Monique Tamminga

The Half Corked Marathon has got to be one of the most unique events in the Okanagan, now drawing over 1,500 people in outrageous costumes who are running and sipping their way through the vineyards of Oliver on Saturday, May 25.

Now into its 16th year, Half Corked is a whole weekend affair from May 24 to 26 offering farm to fork wine maker dinners, before and after parties and of course the main event on Saturday – the Half Corked Marathon.

Team Guns and Roses, credit Hester Creek Winery

It seems like such a crazy concept to combine a marathon with drinking wine and yet it has quickly become people’s favourite event, bringing runners from all over B.C., Alberta and Washington to take in the scenic and tasty experience.

For 2024, it’ll be the biggest year yet with 1,600 participants, said Jennifer Busmann, executive director of the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association. Fifteen wineries along the route include Road 13 Vineyards, Culmina Family Estate Winery, Church & State and Nostalgia and many more will be pouring wines along the way and at the Finish Line Party.

“We can’t wait to see participants wild and wacky costumes this year, as they interpret the theme: Now That’s What I Call the 90s,” said Busmann. “We couldn’t do it without our wonderful winery members, sponsors, event partners and participants. We encourage everyone to join us for the Party at the Finish Line, at Oliver Community Park for the costume judging announcements.”

In order to do this marathon you have to be able to run at least five km and handle some rough terrain and hills. But they do have the ‘Sag Wagon’ to pick up participants who don’t make it to the half way point in time. Those runners are driven to the Finish Line party.

Here’s how it works; Teams show up far too early in the morning at the start line at Oliver Community Park dressed up in wacky, outrageous costumes and then they have 3.5 hours to run through the vineyards and valleys of the region’s iconic wine-growing areas, the Black Sage and Golden Mile Benches, along with sections along Okanagan River. Winery and food stations dot the 20 to 24 km route.

The theme last year was Back to the Future with costumes from the actual movie like Marty McFly and Doc, to Guns and Roses band members, bees and minions to cheeky bums and costumes made of wine corks.

Team Guns and Roses, credit Hester Creek Winery

Nostalgia Winery has big plans to keep the Half Corked marathoners motivated with their ‘Rise, Shine and Wine’ morning party.

Local rockers, Moving Lines will be in the vines bright and early at Nostalgia Winery to cheer on the runners. Nostalgia is the half-way point, and the winery wants to give the runners the boost they need to get to the finish line.

If you aren’t crazy enough to run, this is a great spot to check out all the runners’ amazing costumes, cheer them on, listen to the music and food.

Entry to Nostalgia is by donation with funds going to support a local rider participating in the Tour De Cure BC.

Super and Wonder woman, credit Leila Kwok

Half Corked Marathon weekend events also include the Primavera Party, a casual, long table dinner at Church & State on Friday night with newly opened Casa Molina in Vancouver will share an authentic Spanish menu with a cornucopia of wine options from the surrounding vineyards for guests to enjoy. Then there is the now sold out Dinner on the Farm, at Road 13 Winery on Saturday night. Last but not least is the Party at the Finish Line at Oliver Community Park which is a free event for everyone to participate in from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Party at the Finish Line is the ultimate party of achievement. Local band Rebel Luv will be playing again, turning the finish line into a big dance party like they did last year.

If running through the vines of Oliver with like-minded wine and running enthusiasts sounds like your kind of fun, learn more about how to join at

French mimes running through the vines and dino at the finish line, credit Aaron Hagen


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