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Twelve Years of Half Marathons for Judy

When Saint Clair Family Estate became the naming sponsor of the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon 12 years ago, managing director Judy Ibbotson wasn’t a runner.

“I said to Neal [Ibbotson], ‘I wonder if I could do that’, and he said, ‘You can do anything you want to do’,” Judy recalls.

So she set her mind to it, and since then, she has run the race every year, even doing it ahead of the crowds when attending the Wine Fair and Trade Show overseas, then always held in May.

Ibbotson family friend Sandra Mackay helped Judy with her training, using the early run as a practice ahead of the real event, which she has also completed every year since it began.

“The first year that they did it we ran behind [race co-founder] Rachel on a bike; she took us over ditches and fences, and it was quite funny,” Judy says.

“Sandra encouraged me; she helped me to build up my fitness. I had never run before that.”

Judy has managed to run in the official race seven times over the years, joined by different friends, her daughters Sarina and Julie, and nearly 4000 other entrants each year. She still has all of her official race trophies – each a bottle of Saint Clair Wine.

“I didn’t ever do it for the pace really, I remember doing it for the first year with everyone else and really enjoying doing it with everyone … I’m lucky I can do it,” Judy says.

This year, Judy was the first woman across the finish line for her age group in the hybrid category of the event, which was held earlier this month.