Race Recap: Bacchus Half Marathon

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A unicorn, 2 tumbles and whole lotta wine

Date/Time: Sunday 14th September 2014

Location: Denbies Wine Estate

Distance: 13.1 miles

Before I knew my incredible friends from TNR I used to read their blog posts and always enjoyed hearing about the crazy races they were involved in. One in particular stood out, Laura‘s post about the Bacchus Half Marathon! Fancy dress, wine stops, all the food and in glorious countryside. This year there was no way I wasn’t going to get involved.

So firstly the fancy dress, after a few ideas inspiration came … I was going to run like this ….


To get to the race venue it was a quick journey to Waterloo and then onto a 50 minute train to Dorking which as the stops went by slowly filled up with people in fancy dress … and trainers!  Off the train and a little 10 minute walk to the “vineyard” we were quickly surrounded by where’s wallys, brides, soldiers, wedding presents (?!), bumble bees, cheer leaders, minions … I could go on. The sun was shining, the music was pumping and everyone was in such good spirits!

Got to love that this sign was also pointing in the direction of the start line!

After a super quick bag drop and registration (NO QUEUES and smiling helpers) we had a quick group shot


And then headed over to the start line…

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This race was SURREAL! I would say about 90% of people were dressed up, varying levels of effort but still everyone was a little different and after about a mile and a half of running through beautiful rows of grapes we came to the first wine stop ….

Leah showing us how its done! Meaty crisps, wine, water, chocolate

These “fuelling” stations were incredible!  A shot glass of wine, roast chicken crisps, haribo, raisins, dried apricots, jaffa cakes, borbon biscuits, fig rolls, nice biscuits, digestives, oranges, bananas, water, squash and energy gels.  It was really hard not to just grab everything, in fact we are sure someone people had little bags so they could stock up for later!

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So after enjoying the first stop we then carried on to the next, through a little village which is where I took my first of two tumbles…. I tripped on the pavement … no idea why … I’m a light weight but there is no way a shot of wine would do that! Anyway I picked myself up and carried on to the next stop where we came across a group of farmyard animals (in trainers) singing “wine wine dehlia”, again this race really was surreal.  Stop two was also where a very kind first Aider dressed my knee, after a had to rip my tights off … apparently things had got a little bloody …

Photo courtesy of Leah
Photo courtesy of Leah

Through stop three and onto stop four we tried some glorious wine, I particularly enjoyed the rose, and the continued on a relaxed run through fields, among cows, horses, up woodland tracks, past beautiful country houses and on what would certainly make glorious Sunday walking routes.

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At stop four we were greeted by bagpipers which actually seemed to be particularly fitting and after enjoying a very nice red wine Jen and I decided to carry on … Unbeknown to us, up a LONG hill!!


We were about half way through by this point and though it had been an extremely relaxed run I found the stopping and starting hard, plus I don’t really drink or eat whilst running so this was a totally different experience for me! So as the hill continued up and up this was definitely a test for the legs but of course I wanted to see if I could run the whole thing, just because I am crazy like that.  I managed it but at the top I couldn’t see a wine stop (surely there should have been one by now) I was by myself and well, shattered, so I decided to walk for a little bit but of course as I ventured round the corner there it was, the wine stop! Typical ha!

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This stop was one of my favourites!  The volunteers were fantastic, dressed in Hawaiian gear, there were sweets all over the place, a steel band playing in the background and well the views were pretty incredible too!

From here it was back through the woods and onto my SECOND TUMBLE! Yes I fell again and this time really shredded my leg! I still cannot believe I fell…twice!  Anyway, I dusted myself off and carried on through the beautiful woodland where I heard someone shout “love the unicorn costume” where I responded “it’s not a costume… Oh wait STEPH!” My incredible, crazy, friend was actually running the race as a marathon! Yes if you wanted to (?!) you could run the Bacchus Marathon and she was! Looking so incredible strong and going at a great pace it was absolutely amazing to run a couple of miles with my dear friend and I was extremely pleased to wave her off at the penultimate wine stop looking so fresh!

smiles for miles, miles for smiles

By this point we were onto a very dry white wine which was perfect for me as I really didn’t like it so didn’t feel too guilty at not finishing my shot glass. Seriously all the liquid and food isn’t easy to run with! The final stop had promised fizz so you imagine our absolute dismay to find out that by the time we got there it had all gone!!!!


The last two miles were, as Steph promised, down hill and gave us the most incredible views! And coming back onto the estate smiles were all around!!!!

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On crossing the finish line I had Steph screaming my name and then proceeded to cry in her arms upon hearing she had absolutely smashed her marathon times! SERIOUSLY PROUD FRIEND MOMENT!

From here things got really exciting, the medal was a beast! And around the corner … ALL THE CAKE, chocolate tray cake, lemon cake, chocolate Swiss roll, vanilla Swiss roll and my favourite fruit cake with a marzipan layer! They also had loads of yummy fruit laid out too! These organisers know how to make a runner happy! This was then followed by what we had all been looking forward to! The hog roast! So as we all came across the finish line we sat and enjoyed our free HUGE hog bap in the sunshine and of course a glass of complimentary wine ;D …. I may have found the self serve ice cream too ….


All in all Bacchus Half Marathon is a fantastically fun race. Personally for me I’m not great at stopping and starting as my legs get a little achy but this race is definitely one to be experienced and enjoyed! BOOK YOUR PLACE FOR 2015 NOW…

…whilst I sit in unicorn socks icing my knee ;D



11 thoughts on “Race Recap: Bacchus Half Marathon

    peachylau said:
    09/16/2014 at 11:58 pm

    So so sad to have missed out! Moving to Bristol was definately not as fun!

      charliezbrown responded:
      09/19/2014 at 7:26 am

      There will plenty of others don’t you worry!! Bristol is super exciting! I cannot wait to visit!! xx

    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) said:
    09/17/2014 at 9:28 pm

    I am so doing this next year! Hope the knee is ok!

      charliezbrown responded:
      09/19/2014 at 7:25 am

      Lots of RICE for me but I’ll get there thanks Lauren! Hope you’re all good x

    Beki @MissWheezy said:
    09/18/2014 at 7:59 pm

    This looks like SO much FUN!! 😀 I will def be putting it on my list for next year. I love all the photos you took of the outfits, looking good! Hope you’re OK after your falls. X

      charliezbrown responded:
      09/19/2014 at 7:24 am

      Beki definitely do it, it’s a race to be experienced! I’m alright restless as I haven’t run all week but been a good excuse to really focus on my weights!!! Hey ho ;D

      charliezbrown responded:
      09/24/2014 at 10:08 pm

      Definitely do it Beki!! I am all ok, sporting a very colourful bruise right now on my knee ;D! xx

    […] Charlie’s photo […]

    Lucy said:
    09/23/2014 at 1:10 pm

    Love the unicorn outfit! Sorry to hear you fell over- I’ve fallen over in a race before! Definitely want to do this race next year 🙂

      charliezbrown responded:
      09/24/2014 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Lucy! Ha, I don’t know if I would advise running with a horn on your head but it certainly made people smile ;D! x

    […] leading up to the race I changed my training routine (partly because of my stupid tumble during Bacchus meant I couldn’t run properly) and decided to seriously up my strength training sessions.  I […]

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