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home > news > usa: mid_atlantic > mergerssa, pelluzzo win virginia wine country half marathon

Mergerssa, Pelluzzo Win Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon
Sold out field enjoys wine country course and ambience

Mergerssa, Pelluzzo Win Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

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Posted Monday, 3 June, 2013

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (June 1, 2013) – On a warm Saturday in Loudoun County, Gunmessa Megerssa and Stephanie Pezzullo bested the field of nearly 3,000 runners to win the third edition of the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, presented by Subaru and Visit Loudoun. Produced by Destination Races, this sold out half marathon featured a scenic 13.1-mile course that offered views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, historic farms and rolling vineyards, followed by a post-race Wine & Music Festival at Doukenie Winery.

Megerssa of Washington DC and Pezzullo of Charlotte, North Carolina, each took home $500, a Riedel decanter trophy plus wine certificates.

Megerssa finished with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes, 26 seconds, defeating 2nd place finisher Ryan Hagen of Sterling, Va. (1:13:10) and 3rd place finisher Andrew Allstadt of Madison, Wis. (1:14:54). Hagen, a miler, who recently competed for Virginia Tech, was running the half marathon distance for the first time. “It was fun, I enjoyed the course and the competition, said Hagen.” Genmessa, Andrew and I ran together for the first couple of miles, but after that I knew I was up against a very experienced half marathoner.”

Pezzullo finished with a time of 1:21:56 defeating runner-up Natalie Hall of Blacksburg, VA (1:24:59) and 3rd place finisher Brenda Schrank of Winchester, Va. (1:28:56). Second place finishers took home $300 plus a gift certificate to a Loudoun County Winery and third place received $200 and a gift certificate to a Loudoun County Winery.

With race time temperatures in the 70’s the runners appreciated the shade provided by the trees on course and the eight water stops staffed by volunteers from local non-profit organizations. Runners were even treated to a chilled taste of Traminette white wine at Hiddencroft Vineyards at mile. “It was real celebration of competitive spirit by these runners today”, said Race Director Matt Dockstader. “Despite the warm temperatures, we had relatively few problems and everyone was having a good time, long after the race was completed.”

The sold out event attracted runners and wine enthusiasts from all over Virginia, plus 43 states and foreign countries. The post-race awards ceremony and Wine & Music Festival were held at Doukenie Winery, where local wineries poured for runners and their family and friends, while two bands entertained the crowd. General Manager Sebastien Marquet was thrilled with the outcome as thousands of people descended upon Doukenie Winery. “It was a great event for Loudoun County. All the runners, their families and friends stayed and celebrated a healthy and fun lifestyle that we also support.”

Team Challenge is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s endurance training and fundraising program, and is the perfect way to improve personal fitness while making a difference. Through Team Challenge runners can train and complete the half marathon while simultaneously helping to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two chronic and often debilitating digestive diseases that impact over 1.4 million Americans. Learn more about the Team Challenge program at The local beneficiary and primary volunteer provider is Special Olympics of Loudoun County.

Destination Races, of Sonoma, Calif., produces the Wine Country Half Marathon Series and the Vintage Festival 12K and 5K. The Wine Country Half Marathon series consists of six races including Santa Barbara wine country, Northern Virginia, Napa-to-Sonoma, Oregon (Willamette Valley), Kelowna, B.C. and Healdsburg, Calif.

3rd Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon
Loudon, VA, Saturday, June 1, 2013

1. Genmessa Megerssa 34 Washington DC 1:12:26
2. Ryan Hagen 21 Sterling, VA 1:13:10
3. Andrew Allstadt 30 Madison, WI 1:14:54

1. Stephanie Pezzulo 31 Charlotte, NC 1:12:26
2. Natalie Hall 27 Blacksburg, VI 1:24:59
3. Brenda Schrank 41 Winchester, VA 1:28:57

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