Half Corked Marathon celebrates 15th consecutive year Saturday

Party at the finish line

The 15th Half Corked Marathon kicks off this weekend with 1,100 runners taking on a 20km route through the lush vineyards around Oliver.

Now in its 15th consecutive year (even through the pandemic) this year carries a theme of "Back to the Future" to mark the anniversary.

The unique event sees runners, joggers and walkers weaving through the iconic grape growing areas of Black Sage Road and the Golden Mile as well as the lush valley floor coursed by the Okanagan River.

A total of 13 wine stations are spread out along the route for participants to have a quick tasting tipple before getting back on trail.

Everyone is welcome at the Party at the Finish Line (at the Oliver Community Park) to watch participants complete the run in their creative and sometimes outrageous costumes.

"We just really want to celebrate with our participants, our community and all our partners in this achievement," Jennifer Busmann, Executive Director at Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association said speaking of the anniversary.

The finish line party is free to join and will feature live music by Rebel Luv, a photo wall, artisan's market, food trucks and wine tasting (commemorative glass and tasting tokens available for purchase). Thirteen member wineries will be hosting the tasting stations in the park.

"We're hoping people can join us at the finish line, it's gonna' be tons of fun!" she says.

"We just really want to have people come down and have some fun and celebrate and enjoy the outdoors and cheer on the racers in their costumes at the finish line."

The first runners are expected to begin crossing the finish line around 11 a.m. with the bulk coming in a bit later from about noon to 3 p.m.

Once all the runners have arrived prizes will be awarded on stage for the best individual costume, best team and best skit.

"We've encouraged our participating wineries to come to the table with a theme, picking whichever century or decade they want from the Back to the Future movie.

"And we know a lot of our participants that are registered for the race and the costume contest - given the names of their teams - they've picked different snippets from the movie. It's going to fun!" Busmann adds.

Busman is happy with the registration numbers, saying that given all the post-pandemic challenges of staffing and logistics issues the 1,100 figure was their target number.

"Working with all our stakeholders, our local businesses and all our contractors, 1,100 was really the number that made sense just because there are so many challenges with businesses and staffing and those kind of things."

The biggest hurdle she says, was simply trying to learn how to adjust to putting on the event according to their partner's staffing issues as well as volunteers.

At just a little over 20 km in length this year's Half Corked is a bit shorter than last year. This was largely a reflection of feedback from participants, many of whom felt last year's was too long. This involved working with both the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure along with BC Athletics.

The largest Half Corked to date was in 2019 when 1,600 participants took part. See here for photo galleries of the 2023 Half Corked Marathon.

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