As usual it was an early start so I could get a light breakfast in with enough time to digest it. After making a coffee to take with me I was off to the Hunter Valley in the car so I could arrive in plenty of time to collect my race bib and warm up. The drive there was pretty uneventful other than the road killed wombat that appeared suddenly out of the dark on my way into Cesnock.
Once I had arrived I made my way to the race HQ where I found myself some gels as I had forgotten to purchase some from Margret at The Runners Shop. After I had pinned a couple of these gels to my shorts and had my race bib on my shirt it was time to do a short 3km jog to get warmed up.
The race briefing was longer than usual as the race organisers gave a course description and it took a while to be ready to start. No body seemed to want to put themselves at the front as a fast runner when we were asked to self seed. I tried to keep myself around the 4 minute pacer but it turned out he ran alot slower that that.
The first kilometer was through the wonderful Hunter Valley Gardens and onto the Audrey Wilkenson Winery. In the Audrey Wilkinson's Winery the course acends a steep hill which I had been doing hill repeats and running some hillier runs to prepare for. Overall though the course was much hillier than I had anticipated and this slowed me down alot. Not to mention the wind on the day which made for pretty tough conditions!
I finished up the race in 94 minutes 11 seconds which seemed a bit slow to me. I came 4th in my age category and 28th overall which was an ok result considering I was 30th overall in the Bay to Bay Half Marathon which had less participants. Also I may have been a little under the weather as I realised I had a sore throat and my heart rate had been up in the lead up to the race. You can view the log here.
All in all I had a great time and enjoyed what little of the scenic course I noticed on my way through. For those not ready for a half marathon or looking for a longer distance race in a picturesque location the Winery Running Festival is a great fit as they offer distances from a 5km wander to a ultra marathon.