Every time I’m traveling and I tell someone I’m from California, they ask me if I’m close to Hollywood/Los Angeles. It seems that most people only think of San Francisco or Los Angeles when they think of California. But they are completely ignorant of all the beautiful, scenic places California has to offer.
I must admit that I sometimes fall into this trap of being ignorant of places. Last year, I ran the Salinas Valley half marathon as a BibRave Pro and it was an amazing experience. I had always driven through or past Salinas, but never really explored the area much. I had no idea how beautiful and serene Salinas is. Steinbeck often used the Salinas Valley as the settings in his novels, so the area is known as Steinbeck country. After reading East of Eden, it’s obvious why he used the area as his setting.
As you can probably gather from my blog name, I love to run when I explore new places. It leads you places you might never go and lets you see things from a different perspective. I highly suggest that every Californian should run the Salinas Valley half marathon to more deeply explore the area. You will discover a new appreciation for Salinas Valley. Like I said earlier, I definitely overlooked the beauty of Salinas Valley because I never really knew it was so beautiful. The sound of the sprinklers in the fields is so relaxing as you run past fields and vineyards. It is so serene and beautiful.
The race swag is also great! You get a nice runners jersey and a souvenir wine glass. And your finishers medal doubles as a wine stop.
You’ll discover new local wineries to buy from and visit. I had never heard of Pessagno Winery and I’ve been wine tasting around California for years. After the race, runners over 21 get a complimentary wine tasting. And the top 3 male/female finishers in each age group (21+) win a bottle of wine!