Overall Rating
Overall Rating (41 Reviews)
3.8
(41 Ratings)  (41 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.5
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
3.8
SWAG
3.5
The Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon is not just a running race, it’s a destination lifestyle experience. Loudoun County plays host to this popular event located in and around historic Leesburg, VA, one hour west of Washington DC. This is the only event in the series held in the eastern … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    What an epic disaster! I will start by saying do NOT sign up for this race or anything produced by Bad to the Bone Sports. This was the rudest, most … MORE

    What an epic disaster! I will start by saying do NOT sign up for this race or anything produced by Bad to the Bone Sports. This was the rudest, most unprofessional race company I have ever dealt with and I race a lot. Also $100 for this “half marathon” was a joke. I will cut to the chase and say the reason I put “half marathon” in quotes is the course was about 1 mile short which is an egregious and unacceptable mistake and the response by the race company was even worse. Now for the full review. I was looking for somewhere to go for my three day weekend and the DC area seemed like a nice and appropriate place to spend memorial day and I found a race on all 3 days there. This sounded like the most interesting of the races offered this weekend so even though I am not a wine drinker, I enjoy pretty, farmland and thought this sounded nice and it had mostly good or at least decent reviews. Just some background info on the race. This race changed production companies a couple years ago. It used to be by “Destination Races” and the reviews from prior years are based on their production. This year it was done by Bad to the Bone Sports who also do the Charlottesville Marathon and a few other races if you want to know what races to avoid. This year the location also changed to Tarara winery in Leesburg. Okay, fine covid I get it. This race is located outside of DC. I stayed in a hotel by Dulles airport even though I drove since it was equidistant from all my races. One positive about this race is they offer morning of packet pick-up which I did since I drove in Friday. Friday night was very rainy, luckily the rain mostly cleared by Saturday morning but it made parking a muddy disaster. Should have been a bad sign. Packet pick-up was easy. I was actually pretty excited for the race as the bib was really pretty and personalized and this was a medium sized race (capped at 500) so was able to be pretty normal and still fit within size limits now that things are opening up. The start was just a normal start. I did think there should have been some kind of sign or something recommending to line up by pace but it was just a mass start. The field was small enough and it was chipped time so it was fine. The race is all on the winery property and it is multiple out and backs. It is described as “rolling hills” and we know what that means. As I’ve said before I don’t really mind a scenic, hilly course. However I wasn’t that impressed with the scenery. It was nice enough but I’ve seen much nicer farms in New York and Vermont. The course was kind of annoying where there was this one and back you did twice with another out and back inbetween. What made it annoying was the front of the pack caught up to the large back of the pack group I was in on their second out and back while we were on our first. The lead runner was escorted by police on motorcycles who yelled through a megaphone for us to get out of the way. I understand why this was done but it was obviously going to happen with how the course was set up and they should have figured out a better course. The course is a mix of paved and gravel roads. With the rain it was kind of muddy but not terrible. There were not mile markers every mile which I feel like for a $100 road race there should be huge mile markers. I did notice a 5 mile marker at the wrong place and thought it was just accidentally there but that should have been a bad sign. There were also pretty much no spectators which is not surprising since it is all in the winery and is in a rural area. However other races I’ve done in rural areas such as the EVL Halloween half marathon and Amish Country Running Festival placed signs throughout the course for encouragement in some of the more rural sections. I feel like if I pay $100 you can put a few signs up. The aid stations were really good and frequent though. One of my few positives. I liked how they did it. They had cups placed filled with water and gatorade and then also water jugs with foot pedals if you wanted it contactless. However the gatorade was very watered down. I swear they tried to cut costs every way they could. Anyways I get to the end of the out and back at the halfway mark and I noticed my Garmin only says 6.12 miles. At that point I realized the reason the 5 mile marker was off is the course was off by almost 1 mile! I immediately lost any motivation since I realized this was not going to count for any half marathon clubs and I wanted to save energy for my half on Monday. I walked all the uphill in the second half. I was pretty annoyed and it was hard to enjoy the rest of the race. I mostly just started looking for farm animals and saw a few cows in the distance, some ducks, a cat and a really cute alpaca. I made it to the finish line and my Garmin said 12.2 miles. Yes the course was short about a mile. And I confirmed this with several runners so it was not a Garmin error. Completely unacceptable. Especially for an expensive race that is billed as a “destination lifestyle experience” trying to attract runners from all over. I understand human error and if this was a cheap, local, mom and pop type race company that I paid $30 for a half marathon I could forgive them but not a $100 race. Absolutely ridiculous. If I spend $100 on a race I expect flawless production and at the very least an accurate course. At the finish line you got your medal and your shirt. The medal is really cute with grapes and a baby duck but is not distant specific and not year specific and it turns out was just the medal for 2020 that they reused. I mean I get why they would use the 2020 medals but what was my $100 entry fee used for. Also the shirts are literally the cheapest worst shirts I have every seen. They are black, just have the name and a picture of grapes in one color (so cheap) and made of scratchy polyester so not comfortable to run in or sleep in. And they are tiny. I get men’s mediums since I like baggy shirts and this one is tight on me which means it is smaller than a men’s small should be and it is definitely the men’s shirt because they initially handed me a women’s medium which looked like it might fit a toddler. Really what did they do with my money if the medals were reused, the shirt was cheap and production was terrible. There is also a wine festival but you have to pay an additional $25 to enter on top of the ridiculous entry fee. I don’t drink alcohol so didn’t participate but this race was so bad I was tempted to buy a glass and start drinking again. Also the free post-race snacks were super lame just a bag of chips and a small thing of M&Ms plus a banana and water bottle. There was a food truck you could buy food from but they advertised two food trucks so they didn’t even get that right lol. To add insult to injury, the race company was completely rude afterwards. I was waiting for an apology email or something but crickets. They seemed to want to ignore the measurement issue and pretend it never happened. Anyways someone commented on one of their posts on their facebook page that the race was short. Instead of apologizing, the race company just deleted the comment. People then commented again. Instead of apologizing the company again deleted the comments and made it so no one could comment on any posts. Super professional! They then offered an explanation saying the wind knocked down the turn around sign for the first out and back and it was placed in the wrong location. They did not apologize at all in the explanation. The tone actually sounded annoyed that runners would complain about their mistake. Also this message is in a comment on a facebook post and not an email sent to all participants so you have to look for it. I still have not seen an apology email or any apology for their mistake. I get it we all make mistakes. I expect less mistakes if I pay this much for a race but what I definitely expect is an apology when a race company screws up this bad. I have seen same day apologies for much, much, much more minor things by good race companies. The only good thing I can say about this race company is they have chosen the perfect company name because they truly are bad to the bone. Not in a cool, tough way but in that they are literally bad at their jobs to the bone. Avoid this race and avoid this race company at all costs. And the costs are high!

    (also I am not usually this negative a person and I try to give race companies the benefit of the doubt – please read my positive reviews there are a lot of great races out there. If you are looking for Virginia, I highly recommend Shamrock in Virginia Beach)

    ***Just an update 1 week later and still no apology! But I did get an email to spend $49.99 on personalized race photos in case I wanted to waste more money on a race I am trying to forget***

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

    5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    jgclark54 Jun 01, 2021 at 12:29pm

    Well written and well said!

    Well written and well said!

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    Profile photo of Hollie Ashby
    Hollie_Ashby REPEAT RUNNER '21

    Course was moved to Tarara Winery in Leesburg, started on pea gravel, then pavement, then gravel and back. Out and back course with rolling hills. Course only measured 12.13 miles, … MORE

    Course was moved to Tarara Winery in Leesburg, started on pea gravel, then pavement, then gravel and back. Out and back course with rolling hills. Course only measured 12.13 miles, there was a turn early in the course that we missed. Race Facebook page deleted several comments from disgruntled runners before finally issuing a response that said we missed the turn because of the wind while setting up the race. They deleted additional comments and turning off commenting going forward. Race medal was supposedly from 2020 and the wine glass said a complete different race on it. It had rained pretty heavily leading up to the race so parking in a grass field quickly became a mud hole and I know of cars that got stuck

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    1
    My Media

    4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    seagroves87 May 30, 2021 at 3:52pm

    I just logged on to write exactly this! They can delete our facebook comments but they can't delete our race rave reviews!

    I just logged on to write exactly this! They can delete our facebook comments but they can't delete our race rave reviews!

    Please login to reply to this review.

    runningg8r REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I ran a PR at this race in 2017 and then returned this year and ended up running my worst half marathon ever. A lot of the factors were personal … MORE

    I ran a PR at this race in 2017 and then returned this year and ended up running my worst half marathon ever. A lot of the factors were personal but I will say that the humidity killed me, it was very tough! The wine festival after the race though is amazing and tons of fun!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    This race featured a rolling course on country roads through beautiful Virginia Wine Country. Some of the course was on paved roads and some was on gravel roads. I love … MORE

    This race featured a rolling course on country roads through beautiful Virginia Wine Country. Some of the course was on paved roads and some was on gravel roads. I love the T-shirt and the medal can serve as a corkscrew. The post-race festival featured wine tasting from various local wineries and a very good blues band playing live music. My one suggestion for improvement is to set up changing tents so that racers have a place to change out of their race clothes to enjoy the festival.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    flagsrlife FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was my first half marathon. I loved it! The scenery was beautiful and the course was challenging with some hills and upaved areas. Plenty of water stations and electrolyte … MORE

    This was my first half marathon. I loved it! The scenery was beautiful and the course was challenging with some hills and upaved areas. Plenty of water stations and electrolyte water too. The wine tasting afterwards helps to push you through lol. All the wineries represented were great.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    philbongard FIRST-TIMER '17

    Fantastic way to spend the day with friends. Beautiful location and route through the country. And a great wine tasting afterwards. Very family friendly and plenty to go see around … MORE

    Fantastic way to spend the day with friends. Beautiful location and route through the country. And a great wine tasting afterwards. Very family friendly and plenty to go see around the area.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    sleeann24 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Great post race festival -but make sure you have a designated driver! the course is finebut very hilly and there is minimal on course cheers. some of the race is … MORE

    Great post race festival -but make sure you have a designated driver!
    the course is finebut very hilly and there is minimal on course cheers. some of the race is off-road – uphill and very rocky.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

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    Veronyka13 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was a well-organized race that I look forward to completing again! My only "complaint" was that there was not too much information about the 5k posted online, but this … MORE

    This was a well-organized race that I look forward to completing again! My only “complaint” was that there was not too much information about the 5k posted online, but this was a minor issue. The wine tasting after was a nice inclusion also (though it would be nice for it to start earlier than it did for those who finished the 5k).

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    kmendick10 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This race is one of a kind! The course is absolutely beautiful and definitely well run. The best part of the race is the course and the gorgeous medal. I … MORE

    This race is one of a kind! The course is absolutely beautiful and definitely well run. The best part of the race is the course and the gorgeous medal. I am so impressed with the swag, quality of the medal, and friendliness of everyone at the race!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    roachristy FIRST-TIMER '17

    This race was tough as the course turned onto a gravel/asphalt mixture. I lost time on that, but loved doing this race with my sweet cousin, Brittany! Our family flew … MORE

    This race was tough as the course turned onto a gravel/asphalt mixture. I lost time on that, but loved doing this race with my sweet cousin, Brittany! Our family flew up to come cheer us on and we had a great time celebrating after.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Steve Berberich
    Steve_Berberich FIRST-TIMER '17

    Course was a bit tougher than what I am accustomed to because of the miles of gravel road. The race itself was ok, but the extra fee wine festival after … MORE

    Course was a bit tougher than what I am accustomed to because of the miles of gravel road. The race itself was ok, but the extra fee wine festival after was packed! Not enjoyable.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    jzitel FIRST-TIMER '17

    The Expo was very small, but the volunteers were friendly. The shirts are absolutely adorable, but I wish they were technical/dry-fit. A lot of the course was on gravel roads … MORE

    The Expo was very small, but the volunteers were friendly. The shirts are absolutely adorable, but I wish they were technical/dry-fit. A lot of the course was on gravel roads and it was pretty hilly, which made it challenging. The scenery was beautiful, though! The mile markers had cute rhymes on them about wine 🙂 I love the medal (it holds a wine glass!), but my boyfriend ran the 5k and was bummed that everyone got the same medal and it didn’t say 5k on it. There was a wine festival after the race and you could purchase a wine glass for unlimited tastings from 9:30AM-12PM. The lines for tastings were really long and we ended up just leaving an hour before it was over. Overall, it was a fun race and I would do it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    kelly.davis6 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Overall I enjoyed the race. As others have said, it was hilly at times (which I anticipated given the location) and there was an unexpected, long stretch of gravel road … MORE

    Overall I enjoyed the race. As others have said, it was hilly at times (which I anticipated given the location) and there was an unexpected, long stretch of gravel road (which wasn’t ideal, but would have been much worse had I not worn the right shoes). The water/energy drink support was great, with the opportunity to replenish at least every couple of miles. The scenery was really pretty at times (but mostly backroadish). All in all, I really enjoyed running this course with my friends.

    I think our biggest disappointment was the post race festival. If I had a chance to do over, I would have skipped it entirely. My friends and I paid $25 a piece to participate, which we were eager and willing to do when we were under the impression we could sample from the 15 listed wineries; however, when it came time to join the festival, the lines were huge. We got through two lines before checking our watches and giving up. I’m not sure how many signed up for the post race (I just know that there were a lot of people), but assuming race organizers had those numbers, they didn’t adequately ensure the wineries provided the necessary staff/tables to accommodate post race participants being able to sample quickly. It’s a shame because the ‘shtick’ that draws people to your half (or at least drew my group) is the post race wine festival; otherwise, I can find an equally challenging trail course closer to home and save the money I spent traveling and “wine tasting”.

    So in sum: Good course. Poor post race, but could easily be fixed.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    lunagirl11 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Be sure to review the course before signing up. We found out the day before there would be 4 miles of gravel, which are also hilly, so you may want … MORE

    Be sure to review the course before signing up. We found out the day before there would be 4 miles of gravel, which are also hilly, so you may want to bring your trail shoes.
    My biggest beef with this race was the lack of food. No fruit, no real food. I was shocked. I’ve written to the DR team and hope they seriously consider changing their practices.
    The course was pretty and the post race wine and music were great, but overall I think this one requires improvement.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    lunagirl11 Jun 10, 2017 at 11:39am

    I realize now, I should've chosen repeat runner. I wasn't sure if the choice was in reference to this race or just in general. I've run nearly 40 races to… MORE

    I realize now, I should've chosen repeat runner. I wasn't sure if the choice was in reference to this race or just in general. I've run nearly 40 races to date, so I definitely have experience with what I'd consider to be a good race experience. LESS

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    Katie_Ho Jun 23, 2017 at 12:34pm

    Hi Geena, thanks so much for your thoughtful review! Also wanted to clarify that the "first-timer" / "repeat runner" is specific to that event. Having run nearly 40 races, your… MORE

    Hi Geena, thanks so much for your thoughtful review! Also wanted to clarify that the "first-timer" / "repeat runner" is specific to that event. Having run nearly 40 races, your review provides a great perspective and we hope to hear more about other events you've run. Thanks again, and keep running strong! LESS

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    lunagirl11 Jun 23, 2017 at 1:35pm

    Awesome, I wasn't sure. Thanks for the reply!

    Awesome, I wasn't sure. Thanks for the reply!

    kel400 FIRST-TIMER '17

    i wanted to do one of the races in this series and i'm so glad i did. the race was challenging but good. lots of ups and downs and you … MORE

    i wanted to do one of the races in this series and i’m so glad i did. the race was challenging but good. lots of ups and downs and you run about 5 miles on gravel. lots of water stations and wine inspired mile markers. with a little over 1400 runners the course was never too crowded. after the race you enjoy a wine festival and live music. it was a lot of fun. the shirt is nice, the medal is a wine glass holder, and you also got a bag of snacks at the end. parking was plentiful and easy to get to and close to the start, and bathrooms were plentiful. i would recommend this race.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Amy Taloma
    amytaloma FIRST-TIMER '17

    Pros: super chill vibe, cool medal with a wine glass holder, gorgeous scenery, uber nice volunteers, wine festival was fun afterwards. Cons: loose dirt and gravel ground for almost 4 … MORE

    Pros: super chill vibe, cool medal with a wine glass holder, gorgeous scenery, uber nice volunteers, wine festival was fun afterwards.

    Cons: loose dirt and gravel ground for almost 4 miles- may be challenging if you are coming back from an injury. Hotels are booked up way in advance- book early. No national anthem before the race. Half finishers paid a lot more and didn’t really get anything different from 5k finishers- everyone got the same medal.

    Overall, good experience with a few disappointments. If you have been to really well done races that have great swag you will notice.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    runzie FIRST-TIMER '17

    Fun not too hard beautiful scenery . Doukenie is great winery. Good after party. Race packets not as good as could be. Did race wth double stroller- a little hard … MORE

    Fun not too hard beautiful scenery . Doukenie is great winery. Good after party. Race packets not as good as could be. Did race wth double stroller- a little hard on gravel.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    photodrm1 FIRST-TIMER '16

    Rolling hills with gravel. After race, great time in VIP area for the wine party! Massage area, food, wine and great music. Definitely a MUST do through the Virginia Wine … MORE

    Rolling hills with gravel. After race, great time in VIP area for the wine party! Massage area, food, wine and great music.
    Definitely a MUST do through the Virginia Wine Country.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    melanie24w FIRST-TIMER '16

    This race had many water/gu stops, which was great. I felt like we had just stopped at one and another was around the corner. The race was crowded the first … MORE

    This race had many water/gu stops, which was great. I felt like we had just stopped at one and another was around the corner. The race was crowded the first few miles given the narrow roads and how everyone is together at the start but after a while the crowds started to thin for the rest of the race. Most of the race is on asphalt, but there are 3-5 miles on gravel/packed dirt that many whom I ran with did not like. You did need to watch your step/ankles. There were some good hills that pushed you but then there were some nice flat stretches too. The food afterwards was ok–some bags of snacks, a clif bar, a banana. The wine fest was a little dissappointing because there were so many spectators/guests there too. The lines to taste the wine were long, especially after you ran for 2+ hrs 🙂 Also, our group thought there would be food trucks or somewhere to get food, but we saw one truck with breakfast food. if there was a restaurant or other area, we were not aware. The medal was great though–and heavy!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    gracefremuth FIRST-TIMER '16

    The smell of honeysuckle amidst happy runners and cheerers, in a not-too-flat, not-too-hilly course, with overcast skies made it THE best first half. Mix of pavement, dusty and wet gravel … MORE

    The smell of honeysuckle amidst happy runners and cheerers, in a not-too-flat, not-too-hilly course, with overcast skies made it THE best first half. Mix of pavement, dusty and wet gravel roads made for good variety on the feet… picturesque but not monotonous/

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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