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Half Corked Marathon continues to draw accolades and record numbers
The Half Corked Marathon is about enjoying fine wine and great food, viewing the beautiful South Okanagan valley, sharing good times with friends and having fun.
For one Vancouver couple, it was also about committing to a lifetime of happiness together as Rachel Jacobs and Iain Mill got married only a couple of hours after Jacobs took part in her first Half Corked Marathon.
After completing the 18-kilometre course that takes participants on a sensational tour of wine country between Osoyoos and Oliver with her maiden of honour – her fiancé followed her around on a bicycle – Jacobs and Mill got married on the roof of the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Spa and Resort late Saturday afternoon.
“I have had friends who had run the race and they told me about how amazing it was and I really wanted to do the race this year,” said Jacobs. “When I first applied, I was put on a waiting list and was very disappointed, but I got a call a few weeks ago telling me I had been accepted.
“Iain and I started are planning to get married in Scotland, where he is from, next summer, but we wanted to have a marriage ceremony in Canada before that so we decided this would be the perfect event and perfect weekend to tie the knot.”
Jacobs and Mill met four years ago while surfing in Tofino.
“We fell in love almost immediately,” said Jacobs. “We haven’t been apart very often since that day.”
This year’s event attracted more than 850 participants from across British Columbia, several from Alberta and even a few from as far away as Saskatchewan and Toronto.
More than 80 per cent of the participants dress up in costumes and some of the costumes on display on Saturday were extremely elaborate and colourful.
Jacobs said competing in her first Half Corked Marathon is something she will never forget.
“It is just so much fun,” she said. “I had heard what a blast it was, but it was more fun than I could ever imagine.
“The best part is Iain and I plan on coming back every year to celebrate our wedding anniversary.”
Mill said he has been to the area several times and couldn’t think of a more perfect place to get married.
“Our big wedding with all the family and friends will take place in Scotland next summer, but we wanted a Canadian ceremony as well and we couldn’t think of a better place to hold it,” he said.
The only other people attending the ceremony Saturday were a married couple, Melanie and Andy, and their two children, who ran the race with Jacobs before wedding vows were exchanged.
Jacobs, a physiotherapist, and Mill, a certified ship builder, say they are looking forward to returning to the area and competing in many more Half Corked marathons in the future.
Tony Munday, executive director of the Oliver-Osoyoos Wine Association, said organizers are thrilled the event has grown so quickly in four short years.
“We had 2,800 applications for the 850 spots, which shows the incredible demand for our event,” he said. “We’ve sure come a long way from 200 participants and handing out hot dogs in the parking lot in our first year.
“The most important thing is this is truly a unique and fun event … combined with a wine and culinary experience in one of the most beautiful parts of this country. People realize what a unique experience this has become and they want to be part of it.”
With 400 per cent growth in four years, Munday said organizers will have to make a tough decision on whether to expand the Half Corked Marathon, perhaps to a two-day event to allow more people to join the fun.
“We will just take it year by year and evaluate what we should do once we get through this weekend,” he said. “There’s no doubt there’s huge demand.”
The Primavera Party held on Friday night at Church and State Winery near Oliver attracted a full house of 270 and the pancake breakfast at Rustico Farm and Cellars Winery in Oliver was also sold out, said Munday.