I have a well-documented love/hate relationship with running and, although I’ve run both the London and New York marathons in my time, these days I tend to stick to half marathons. In fact, that should be singular as, other than the Great North Run each year, I tend towards couch potato-ness.
However, when I first heard about the Sherry Marathon in Jerez de la Frontera I couldn’t resist. A run around the vineyards with the chance to sample local delicacies and partake of a sherry or two en route – definitely my kind of exercise!!
The full marathon route starts and finishes in the historic city centre near to the Alcazar and, in between, winds its way through some of Jerez’s vineyards and bodegas. The half marathon (Sherry Media) starts at the Gonzales Byass vineyard on the outskirts of Jerez and carries on through the vineyards before reaching the outskirts of Jerez and finishing in the city centre at the Alameda Vieja.
There’s also a 14km route (Sherry Promo) which starts in the vineyards of the Marco de Jerez and follows the route of the full marathon to also finish at the Alameda Vieja.
I hadn’t done any cross country running since I was at school and was totally unprepared for just how hilly the vineyards were – let’s just say quite a lot of walking was involved on the uphill sections! It’s also not a race for chasing a personal best – apart from the temptation to stop for a snack and a wee tipple, there were just too many photo opportunities along the way to act as a distraction (and the ideal chance to get my breath back).
Compared to some races it’s really good value – the entry fee for the half marathon was just €21 and, apart from registration for the run itself, included all refreshments during and after the race, transport to the start line, a goodie bag which included a t-shirt, and a commemorative sherry glass at the finish line. Talking of the finish line, my much faster partner, for once, didn’t mind hanging around to wait for me as there were tents set up with food and drink for all finishers.
The organisers also put on various activities over the weekend including guided tours of the vineyards, sherry tasting sessions and flamenco shows.
Entries open for the 2019 race on 1st November and, if you fancy having a go, click here. I’ll definitely be back next year!