Now in its 10th year, The Hunter Valley Winery Running Festival not only offers an event to train for in winter but is also a wonderful excuse for couples, friends and family to have a weekend away. There is plenty to do and explore for the kids at the Hunter Valley Gardens and surrounding area or leave them at home and unwind before or after your race by booking into one of the many day spas, having a round of golf, wine-tasting and enjoying award-winning restaurants and luxury accommodation.

With the main event compound, start and finish line all on a large oval, it is easy to find a friend, warm up and cool down all within 100m of all the activity. You are also just 200m from a European style village with cafe’s art galleries and dress shops…girls settle down. Add to that some on site wine tasting, an Irish pub just around the corner and you have plenty of reasons to get fit and head to the Hunter in July.

Oh yeah and the race…The course is great for all the events. There is a 52.5km ultra marathon, 42.2km marathon, 10.3km, 5.2km and 2km kids run. The marathon is 2 laps of the half course and the ultra is 2 laps, plus the 10.3km course. The main half marathon course heads from the oval into the Hunter Valley Gardens and meanders out the back of the nursery into Tallawanta Vineyard. From there they head into Audrey Wilkinsons Vineyard and that now famous hill which delivers about 500m of pain, before coming out and running around the cellar door. From there the course heads past Lindemans, McLiesh, Tullochs, Brokenwood, McGuigans and Pools Rock Vineyards. All the events are well serviced by drink stations, (not wine), but a few runners have been known to get stuck at one of the cellar doors they run past on race day. Many return after the race! If you hang around for the presentation there is plenty of local produce on offer and everyone enjoys the great sports expo and food on site.

Website: wineryrun.com