A new running event will hit the Kelowna calendar in early September this year partnering Kelowna’s wine and tourism industries in a half marathon format.
The inaugural Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon is the first international event produced by Destination Races, a California-based company that has five other races in different wine areas of the United States.
“We really want to stress that we are really excited about this event because of all the things the Okanagan Valley and Kelowna have to offer,” said Matt Dockstader of Destination Races. “I think this is going to be a world class event. We love the wines that Kelowna has to offer and we have some great tourism partners for the event.”
Destination Races biggest event is in California with the Napa to Sonoma half marathon which has been taking place since 2004. The Kelowna event is the first time the company has ventured outside of the United States.
“The areas we go to are world renowned wine regions,” said Dockstader. ‘We have a very loyal following of participants. We try not to get too large because we have a lot of elements to the race like music entertainment, food and wine.”
Dockstader said he’s hoping to attract over 2,000 runners in the inaugural event that hits the calendar about a month before the long-running Okanagan International Marathon on Thanksgiving weekend.
But that doesn’t bother Dockstader who says many runners may choose to do both the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon as well as the Okanagan Marathon.
“The Okanagan race is a little over a month after ours which I think is perfect timing,” he said. “A month is plenty of time to recover and do another marathon if people want to. We talked to the promoters of that event and we plan to cross promote and try to help each other. It’s all good for the area if you have two good races. We worked closely with the city to find the right time and this was the best time for our event.”
The events feature every level of runner, from elites to people more interested in the social aspect.
Up to 16 local wineries will be involved in the race pouring wine at the post event wine and music festival.
The Strong Kids campaign, in partnership with the YMCA of Okanagan, will provide volunteer support for this event as the primary local beneficiary and charity partner. A full slate of activities are scheduled, beginning on Thursday Sept. 5 with a welcome reception, and culminating with a finisher’s celebration in Kelowna on Saturday evening. The Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Centre will host the Race Expo held on Friday Sept. 6 which is open to the public and free.
For more information and to register check out www.destinationraces.com/runbc