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Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon debut a success

    Running through Oregon’s scenic wine country suited Stephen Pifer of Eugene, OR just fine. Pifer ran neck and neck with second place finisher Michael Wisniewski of Corvallis, OR, for twelve miles before pulling away and winning the inaugural event with a time of 1:07:16. Wisniewski finished with a time of 1:07:27. Carrie Heineck, a late entry from Portland and mother of a five-month-old baby, won the women’s overall title with a time of 1:22:18, defeating 2nd place finisher Sarah Hallas of Petaluma, CA (1:24:50). Greg Riedl from Denver, CO (1:08:49) and Rebecca Mishler of nearby Newberg, OR (1:25:23) finished third overall in the men’s and women’s elite field.

    Conditions were ideal for over 1,500 runners from 46 different states who were enticed by the attractions of Yamhill County in the Willamette Valley, one of the premiere Pinot Noir producing regions in the world. Men’s champion Stephen Pifer, a former sub four-minute miler from the University of Colorado, was competing in his first half marathon. Pifer summed up the enthusiasm generated by the participants, “I really enjoyed the course and it was awesome being part of this cool event. But I need a new car to fit all the prizes in the trunk.” Pifer and Heineck both took home $500 checks from West Coast Bank, a double magnum of wine from Ken Wright Cellars, a Ball Watch, and the Winer’s trophy, a beautiful etched wine decanter.

    The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon is the fourth event in the Wine Country Half Marathon series. One of the trademarks of the Wine Country events is the post-race Wine & Music Festival, where two dozen wineries from the local wine appellations poured for the runners, and their family and friends, while listening to live music and watching the awards ceremony, in which top three places in each age group receive wine bottles.

    Hotels throughout Yamhill County were filled for event weekend and local wineries and other businesses were thrilled with the influx of tourism over the weekend. The town of Carlton hosted the post-race celebration and embraced this new event. “We thought the enthusiasm and participation on everyone’s part was fabulous. It was a very healthy event for the town, and we look forward to many more,” said Ken Wright of Ken Wright Cellars, sponsor of the wine and music festival. The Oregon Sports Authority worked with area business and community leaders to bring the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon to Yamhill County.

    Produced by Destination Races of Sonoma, California, the Wine Country Half Marathon series includes the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon in May, the upcoming Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon on October 30th, and the flagship Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, held in mid-July each year. For more information visit www.destinationraces.com. For complete results of the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon go to www.j-chipusa.com or www.run4oregonwine.com.


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