I’m compelled to write a Wineglass Marathon race recap as I recently ran it on October 6th, 2019. It is hosted in Corning, NY, a lovely, quaint town in beautiful western New York. The point to point marathon begins in Bath, New York, and winds via country roads through small communities and farm land. The leaves are in the early stages of changing color along the countryside. Total runners (marathon, half marathon, 5K) are ~2,500, so it is a smaller marathon, with a laid-back feel in a peaceful setting. For these reasons, it is a good choice for first-time marathoners, as well as those pursuing a personal best (like me!). I have written another post about key learnings from a tough marathon here.
For those not interested in running a marathon, they do offer a half marathon (Sunday), and a 5K on Saturday. They also have race challenges, the Pinot Half Marathon Challenge (5K and HM), and the Wineglass Riesling Marathon Challenge (5K and marathon).
Wineglass Marathon Race Recap: Logistics
Hotel and Restaurants
Hotels – there are a number of options on the race website, and we chose to stay at the official race hotel, Radisson Hotel Corning. The Radisson is also is the location of the pasta dinner on Saturday night, and provides late check-out, plus some pre-race goodies (water/bananas/bagels/coffee) on race day. The hotel is also walking distance to several good restaurants and shops in downtown Corning. Note that the expo is a longer walk, approximately .9 miles. The other benefit of the Radisson is it is approximately three blocks from the finish, and the morning bus pick-up is essentially right outside the hotel!
Overall, there are a limited hotels near the finish, so you should book early if at all possible. Some runners stay in Bath (race start), so that is another option, but know you still must board a bus to get to start area in Bath. There are also a wide variety of BNB’s, inn’s, and accomodations via VRBO and Airbnb.
Restaurants The Wineglass race recap is not complete without some discussion on food! There is a varied selection of restaurants in Corning. While we didn’t visit them all, some of our favorites are here! Old World Cafe is a lovely and quaint restaurant serving lunch and ice cream (as well as coffee). Fresh soups made daily with a varied menu of sandwiches, and salads. We also enjoyed Aniello’s Pizzeria after the race with some New York style pizza and salad (their salads are huge). Good food, reasonably priced, and quick service. Lastly, we enjoyed Poppleton Bakery, which serves breakfast, lunch, and their from scratch desserts. They are known for their crepes (sweet and savory), although they were sold out when we dined there.
Shopping and Air Travel
Wegmans: Located a few blocks away from downtown Corning, this awesome grocery store will have likely everything you need. The customer service and selection are top notch, and frankly, the latte is one of the best I’ve had. They even have Wineglass cookies, cakes and cupcakes for sale on race weekend. Note that wine is not available in grocery stores in New York (beer only!).
The nearest airport, Rochester (ROC), is about 100 miles from Corning, NY. It is a nice, scenic drive, although there are few places to stop and eat (other than fast food) en route. “ROC” is a very easy airport to navigate, and the rental car companies are on-site. We dropped our car off, and were at our gate within 20 minutes, the fastest I’ve ever gotten through security at an airport!
Wineglass Race Recap Details
EXPO! The Expo is located at the Corning Museum of Glass. It is small, but efficient, and has everything you’d possibly need at an expo. There is also a good selection of Wineglass Race Series merchandise for purchase. It is open on Friday and Saturday, and getting your bib on race day is NOT an option.
Both Meb Kelezighi and Bart Yasso were at expo from 5-7 pm on Friday signing bibs. Unfortunately, I found out after the fact! I did happen to snap a picture of them both outside the expo on Friday.
Race Swag: is nice! Swag this year included: a ¾ zip long sleeved tech shirt (male and female versions), runner ankle socks, a small engraved stemless wine glass, a smallish bottle of champagne, and a mini chocolate turtle. That’s a bit better than just the typical tech race shirt! And, I must mention the medal. The medal is glass (shocking) and resembles the bottom of a wine bottle. The medallion is hand crafted and designed by a local glass craftsman each year (note the glass medal applies to half marathon and marathon). And, the race website states if you break it, they’ll replace it!
Pre-race Pasta Dinner I did not attend, unfortunately, as it sells out quick! Meb Keflezighi was the key note speaker, and Bart Yasso was also in attendance. Purchase your tickets early if you want to attend. Dinner begins at 5:30 on Saturday night, and is over by ~7:30. Tickets are $40 for the Radisson “official” pasta dinner, but the race series did offer another pasta dinner option in Bath for $10.
Wineglass Marathon Course Description
This is a point to point race. You MUST take a bus to the start line, and are able to board a bus in either Corning or Bath for both the marathon/half-marathon. Note that half-marathon runners have an earlier window to board than marathon runners. The Corning marathon bus window is 5:30-7:00 a.m. (marathon starts at 8:15!), and we boarded a bus at 6:15 with little wait time. If you are driving to Corning to board a bus, there is parking around the Radisson/downtown area, but it fills up pretty quick.
Elevation change: The course has approximately a NET 200’ elevation loss. BUT, this does not mean there are not some hills! My Nike Running app clocked 550’ elevation gain (meaning elevation loss of 750’). There is an elevation map on the race website, and it appears like the majority elevation gain was in the earlier half of course, up to approximately mile 15.
Spectator support: There are a few towns where you’ll have spectator support: Bath, Campbell, Painted Post, and Corning. There’s a smattering of folks in locations between these towns, but overall, the spectator support is more sparse due to the rural nature of the course. Where there are spectators, they do a great job! There were a number of nice folks (besides the aid stations) handing out oranges, ice pops, candy, water, etc.
The Start and Finish (and Weather)
Start Line area: An aspect of the race I really like is the start area. There are no corrals (but you get a sense of where to be based on pace groups), and the start line is very close to the covered tent area. There are a bunch of porta-potties, and you can drop off your gear bag within just a few minutes before the race start. Also, the race start was quite low key, which I really appreciated.
Finish line area: Lots of crowd support lining Market Street for the last several blocks of the race. This year, Bart Yasso was at finish line calling out people’s names, and their home town, a very nice and personal touch. We took a shower and went to the finish area, and saw the last finisher come across the finish line. It was amazing and emotional!
They provide hot soup at the finish line (two kinds!), bananas, water, chocolate milk (my fave), cookies, and a number of other things. Definitely sufficient “plus” for immediate post-race recovery. There’s also a PR bell for those that PR at the race, and while that was my goal for Wineglass, it didn’t happen!
Temps can vary – race day started in low 50’s, and ended in low 60’s. The average is a low of 43˚ and high of 64˚, so are temps were higher, unfortunately! We also had a headwind/crosswind for a good chunk of the race, although a tailwind was in the forecast.