Monday, August 24, 2015

The Hard Cider Run 5K

The Gettysburg Hard Cider run was a lot of fun and very well organzied. I really didn't know what to expect at all, and was pleasantly surprised by the entire event.  Hauser Estate Winery is a beautiful location and had plenty of room for all the participants, vendors and parking requirements.

The winery is located at the end of a very long entrance road up on a hill surrounded by its vineyards and its apple orchards.  They grow all their own apples for their Jack's Hard Cider which was flowing generously after the event.

The view from the winery itself is stunning.  There is plenty of patio space to enjoy a beverage and a small plate and look out over the hills.   You can see the line of cars trying to get into the event in the following photo.  If I can suggest anything it would be to arrive about early and be in the first waves (9am, 9:10am, etc.) so that you can beat the masses.

View from the Winery patio area

The run itself takes you around the estate through the fields, around the orchard and through the rows of grapes.  It is a trail run, and the terrain is hilly, grassy, rocky and has a few potholes.  The course had an elevation gain of 425 feet over the 3.1 mile course.  One of the climbs was insane at about 75 feet in less than a tenth of a mile; I pulled my wife up that one.  The course had one water stop just short of 1.5 miles with water.  At the end of the course were bottles of water, bananas and your finishers medal which is a nice treat for a 5K.

Strava Map of the 5K Trail

Here are some photos I took along the way of the apple trees and the vineyards.  It was a beautiful day with unseasonable cool weather and a bright clear sky.

Vineyards at Hauser Estate Winery

Apple Tree for Jack's Hard Cider

After you passed the first refreshment tent, a larger tent provided you a cider glass and you could select your preference for a free glass of Jack's Hard Cider.  They had four varieties to choose from.  I had the dry, and my wife had the semi-dry.  We enjoyed them both.  They were cold, light and very refreshing.

They had three food trucks on property providing lunch fare.  A wood fired pizza oven was our choice.  They were made to order and they have several varieties to choose from.  While pricey at $10 each for a personal pizza, they were delicious.  I had the margarita and my wife had pepperoni.  They also had a pretzel truck with fresh soft pretzels, pretzel dogs and sandwiches with pretzel bread.  The last truck provided boardwalk style fries with sandwich options like burgers, ruben's, etc.

One of the things we liked best about the event was that the line for runners to get their glasses and free cider were positioned far away from the band, food trucks and sitting areas.  This made the event feel very relaxed and enjoyable.  While there were thousands of people at the event, it didn't feel overly crowded at all, whereas the Destination Virginia event was crowded with all of the facilities very closely positioned.

Between the band stage and the food trucks were a few craft vendors and other related race information booths.  One of the vendors makes clocks, lazy Susan's, wine holders, and other items from used wine aging barrels.  They are amazing to look at, and of course we had to purchase a half barrel wine holder for the house (see photo below).  The maker, Eric, and his wife Jessie also make candles and soaps.  He is based out of Williamsport, MD and is hoping to open a store front soon.  You can read more on their Facebook page for Canal View Candles.

Half Barrel 12-bottle Wine Holder

Overall this was a really fun event.  Some folks got some amazing times given the conditions, but for me this is an event suited for enjoying the scenery and watching your step.  I wouldn't expect to set a 5K PR here, but certainly would expect to enjoy the views, the food, and the cider.

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