Everyone loves a getaway. Time away to de-stress from all of life’s pressures. But what if you could have a RUNAWAY, combining your holiday with your love of running in an amazing location? That is exactly what Runaway Barossa Marathon was all about.
Runaway Barossa is just one of the amazing events in the Runaway Marathon Series brought to you by Ironman Oceania which incorporates Runaway Barossa Marathon, Hawkes Bay Marathon, and Queenstown Marathon in NZ. It is all about indulging in experience where you simply runaway to a spectacular location. Not only do you get to enjoy running in these amazing places, you have the chance to really get away….immersing yourself in the culture, food and wine of the regions that you are visiting.
I was invited to the Barossa by Ironman Oceania in the role of Event Ambassador, and saw the opportunity to visit the Barossa with my husband for a much needed break, after a hectic year. My job was to bring to light the inaugural event, and showcase to people how much fun you can have when you combine your love of running with travel. I had only ever been to Adelaide for the Adelaide marathon, so to me the thought of visiting somewhere new and getting to run, while taking in the sites of the Barossa was a major draw card. Top this off with meeting lots of Adelaide and other RMA that were also travelling to the event had me excited.
The event hub was located on the lawn of Peter Lehmann Wines, one of the Barossa’s iconic wineries with a sweeping lawn, surrounded by vineyards and Cellar Door in the heart of Tanunda.
With just over an hours drive from Adelaide Airport, you felt instantly relaxed as you drove into town in the middle of the Barossa Valley countryside. The main street of Tanunda was lined with many shops, cafe’s and restaurants and the odd wine bar, and all of the local wineries were on it’s doorstep. The perfect place to host a getaway race.
After we touched down in Adelaide, we spent our day weaving our way through the many country towns towards the Barossa region including Hahndorf, a local german-style town, drinking coffee and wandering through the many stores on offer. When we arrived in Tanunda we headed to the event hub at Peter Lehmann to pick up our event pack. One look at the finish line and I knew it was going to be an amazing event.
The race precinct was so well set up. There was a massive finish line with a huge stage ready for the post race entertainment. Local stalls for food an wine were set up on the perimeter, and the lawn was covered in red and black bean bags just waiting for us to lay in them and take in the festival vibe after our race. The weather was sunny, with a crisp cool breeze blowing and blue skies.
That evening we headed to Z Wine Bar in Tanunda to meet up with the other RMA members who had come along. I was pleasantly surprised when they kept rolling in the door! There was so many. Girls from Adelaide, other parts of South Australia, Perth and Sydney. We had a lovely time getting to know each other and talking race logistics and running, while the men chatted amongst themselves. After drinks we headed to local Restaurant 1918 for some dinner with RMA Admin Katie Wood and her husband and friend. It was a great night showcasing some of South Australia’s finest food and wine.
Before long it was time to head back to our accomodation, The Barossa Weintal Hotel for the night.
The next morning was race day. The best thing was that it fell on Saturday, which meant that we still had the whole day ahead of us, plus another day to explore all that the Barossa had to offer. The weather was a cool 10 degrees, and the sky was overcast. We headed to the race start. As hubby and I were running the 10k race we parked at the start line at Peter Lehmann and jumped on the race bus that was to take us to the start line. It was packed with quite, nervous runners. As it inched towards the start line I pinched myself as we flew past miles and miles of vineyards as far as the eyes could see. Heaven.
I breathed out and felt so thankful for this opportunity; so lucky that I was given this experience.
Hubby and I had planned to run the 10k together. I looked around and the start line was buzzing with runners who were huddling together to try to keep warm. I found a few other RMA and had a quick chat with them. Before long it was time to start.
After a quick count down we were off and running. We headed down the hill from the start line and turned to run up the road. We were running well, feeling great. Hubby mentioned that I should run alone and try to get a place, but I really wanted to experience this run with him and do it together, which is why we were here; to experience this as a getaway. We were running strong and I was so taken by the views that I kept stopping to take pics and video, telling hubby that I would catch up. The course took in some amazing panoramic views, the best that the Barossa had to offer. We headed through Palm lined roads towards Seppeltsfield before turning to head back towards Tanunda.
The surface was a mix of bitumen and gravel road and was easy underfoot, the course undulating. It reminded me of similar terrain and surrounds of country NSW at the Carcoar Cup that I had run before…my kind of run.
At every turn came another gorgeous view. Grape vines blowing in the breeze, estates tucked amongst vineyards, and the sounds of peace and quite among the foot-steps of fellow runners.
The volunteers were friendly as they held out our drinks which were conveniently located at 2, 6 and 8km along the course. Hubby was doing well, especially as he doesn’t ever really run further than parkrun, and we just ran next to each other taking it all in. Before long we were heading back towards the start line, inching closer to the runners ahead of us.
We turned into Peter Lehmann towards the finish precinct and we could hear the finish line cheers. Hubby decided to pick up the pace. I tried to keep up with his long legs. He just took off! I tried my best to stay right beside him. Up the road and around the bend and we found ourselves running towards the finish line. Running down the grass shute was so much fun and we ran together in a time of 51.33. The announcer called us and said how special it was that we ran together as a couple. I thought so too. Not only did we have a great run, hubby managed to take out 3rd in his age group!
After the race we found some of the RMA that were running the half marathon and headed to the race start to see them off. Then we headed towards the bean bags and plopped ourselves down. We spent the rest of the morning chilling in the beanbags eating a yummy omelette breakfast, sipping coffee and consuming the first of our Peter Lehmann wines from the VIP race area.
After a while the half marathoners and marathoners started to come flooding in, so we headed down to the edge of the finish line to cheer them on. The race announcers did a fantastic job to congratulate every finisher who came through. The smiles on their faces sealed their delight as young and old athletes came running through to the cheers of the crowd.
We spent the afternoon relaxing in the bean-bags getting to know our many new running friends, mingling with those that had come from near and far, while enjoying a beverage and listening to the live entertainment provided on stage by the Germein Sisters, who were amazing! The race felt more like a festival than a finish line. Not only did you have the chance to run the marathon, half marathon, or 10k, you could listen to the Dj, bands, eat delicious food, ice-cream and there was entertainment for the kids, there was even a kids race! Everyone got a medal for competing, and a gorgeous one at that!
There really was no reason to leave early and we enjoyed the festival into the late afternoon, kicking back on our beanbags, after watching the last athletes come into the marathon finish to the expectant cheers of the crowd.
That night we headed into Fino at Seppleltsfield. Another culinary delight that was much enjoyed with good company before tucking our weary heads into bed.
Because the event was on the Saturday we had the whole day on Sunday to roam the Barossa before we headed to the airport. We visited a few wineries such as Hentley Farm, Chateau Tanunda, Kellermeister, and a spot of lunch at the gorgeous Pindarie winery.
It was a weekend I won’t forget, and I will be back to take in more of the beautiful Barossa.