This weekend, the City of Solvang is hosting one of the most scenic running events in Southern California: the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. The environment figures to be electric today when a sold-out field of almost 2,400 entrants lace up their running shoes for 13.1 miles of racing and wine tasting.
2021 marks the 14th edition of the half-marathon and the first live running event in 896 days. Organizers were forced to reschedule the race three times during the pandemic.
According to event director Natalia Mendez, there are plenty of precautions and lots of optimism in store for runners when they safely return to the streets of Solvang for the live, in-person event.
“These past 18 months have certainly been challenging for everyone, and we’re thrilled to be welcoming runners back to the start line and cheering them on in person,” said Ms. Mendez.
“Our goal is to make it as close to a normal experience as possible. To be out there running again is going to be very cool. Our participants have been saying on social media that just getting back to training was fun and motivating.”
The running kicks off at 7 a.m. today with the half-marathon and two-person half-marathon relay. Participants will start amidst the windmills and Danish bakeries in downtown Solvang, run along the rolling hills, vineyards and 12 wineries before finishing on Copenhagen Drive in the heart of historic Solvang.
“This is a scenic course that provides runners a first-class tour of the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley,” added Ms. Mendez. “We look forward to showcasing the charm of Solvang and Santa Barbara’s wine country to thousands of runners this weekend.”
After crossing the finish line, participants are invited to join family and friends to kick back, relax, sip and savor tastings from 14 different wineries or enjoy a cold Michelob ULTRA Organic Seltzer at the post-race Wine Festival in Solvang Park.
Runners have traveled from 36 states and Washington, D.C. Seven international athletes are from Canada. One in five are running their first half-marathon. More than two in three participants are female.
For more information or to view a complete race weekend schedule, visit runsipsantasarbara.com and follow at @sbwinehalf on social media.