The Winery Running Festival 2017 at The Vintage Golf Resort and Spa | photos

THE Hunter Valley’s world-famous vineyards provided an idyllic backdrop for hundreds who braved a crisp morning to reap the rewards of their winter exercise regimes in the annual Winery Running Festival.

More than 1400 runners gathered at new host venue, The Vintage Golf Resort and Spa in Rothbury, for the marathon, half marathon, 10 and six kilometre events, which wound their way through the golf course and Bimbadgen Estate.

Children could also sign up to a marathon, which comprised them running 40 kilometres over eight weeks and completing the last two kilometres on race day.

Event director Paul Humphreys said low temperatures didn’t deter runners from traversing the “world class” course.

“It was three degrees when the marathon started at 6.30am – we had to wait five minutes for it to become a bit more light,” Mr Humphreys said.

“I’ve been in a lot of races nationally and internationally and in terms of a regional running event, it’s as good a venue as you’ll get anywhere in the world.”

Mr Humphreys said committing to an event gave both novice and experienced runners a goal to work towards.

“Plenty of people walk this event – it’s just a matter of starting,” he said.

“Next year you might do the 10 kilometre event, or the six kilometre event a bit faster.

“Sure, you could walk around a park on your own, but it’s like listening to The Eagles in your car or seeing them live.

“Going to a show and that group dynamic means you’ll have a better time.”

The first male and female marathon finishers were Adrian Royce and Catherine Robins.

Owain Matthews and Katie Duncan were first in the half marathon.

View the rest of the results here.