Christian Hesch, of Hollywood, CA and Natalie Bak of Bend, OR enjoyed perfect running conditions in the Willamette Valley on their way to their first Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon victories today. Hesch ran a 1:06:37, to beat out Aissa Oghoughi of Vancouver, WA (1:07:05) and defending champion Mario Mendoza of Bend (1:08:53). Bak, who finished 2nd last year, completed the scenic 13.1-mile course in 1:19:23, defeating Lauren Johnson of Portland, OR (1:19:31) and Korina Pongracz-Bartha of Portland, OR 1:21:53. Bak and Hesch received $500 in cash, a Riedel Decanter trophy and Double Magnum of wine from Ken Wright Cellars.
Nearly 1,500 runners traveled from 40 different states and seven foreign countries to the heart of Oregon’s Wine Country in the Willamette Valley. The race started at Stoller Vineyards, as the sun was rising over Mt. Hood to the east and the moon setting to the west, providing spectacular views for the runners.
Hesch built a strong early lead but had to “kick it into gear” after Oghoughi mounted a strong challenge at mile 11. “It was an incredible day and an incredible course,” Hesch said. “It rivals any wine country scenery I’ve ever run through.”
It was beautiful out there, I loved the run and Destination Races does a great job,” said women’s winner Natalie Bak. “I’ll definitely be back next year.”
The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon is the fourth of five events in the Wine Country Half Marathon series. Produced by Destination Races of Sonoma, California, the Wine Country Half Marathon series also includes events in Santa Barbara Wine Country, Napa-to-Sonoma, Healdsburg and Loudoun County, Virginia. For more information visit www.destinationraces.com or www.run4oregonwine.com.
Results (full results can be viewed HERE)
1. Christian Hesch, Hollywood, CA — 1:06:37
2. Aissa Oghoughi, Vancouver, WA — 1:07:05
3. Mario Mendoza, Bend, OR — 1:08:53
1. Natalie Bak, Bend, OR — 1:19:23
2. Lauren Johnson, Portland, OR — 1:19:31
3. Korina Pongracz-Bartha, Portland, OR — 1:21:53