The idea appropriately enough, was born over a bottle of wine – a lovely ’08 Reisling from Grange of Prince Edward Estate Vineyards & Winery. The run founders Rebecca LeHeup and Andrew Mackenzie, both healthy advocates of culinary travel, were looking to take part in a spring run in the region. With busy lives, the appeal of joining an organized 10K cannot be underestimated, but one that was fun and allowed participants an authentic “taste of place” experience was even more appealing. Unfortunately such an event did not exist in Ontario, especially not like the vineyard runs they’d heard of in France. The obvious question that was raised was, why not?
Rebecca and Andrew realized that the distance between this dream, and the reality of their home-based gastronomic island with beautiful geography and dozens of new wineries, was literally a handful of kilometers away. With a top up of Riesling in their glasses, they opened a Prince Edward County map and penciled out several routes with a focus on the natural cluster of wineries surrounding Hillier, Ontario. By their calculation 11K plus or minus a few hundred meters, would take them past nine wineries, and if properly organized could end up at their friend Norman Hardie’s winery, precisely in front of his masterful brick pizza oven.
Could it be this easy? The next day they jumped in their car and within a few hours had enthusiastic commitments from Norman to host the post-run lunch, and from Jens & Bruno, the owners of the wonderful Old Third Winery to host the race kick off. Bruno even volunteered to use their “bird banger” to get everyone going! The other wineries jumped onboard agreeing to contribute wine to the post run lunch, and friends and colleagues were also eager to contribute. The County Cider Company offered to act as lead vehicle and refresh runners with cider at the finish line and Barley Days Brewery agreed to act as the follow van – full of chilly beer for the post run fun!
If everyone has half the fun that Rebecca and Andrew had putting the inaugural run together – we may see Terroir Runs in other parts of The County, other regions of Ontario, other provinces across the country, or perhaps even around the world!
So, Ready, Set, Sante!