Saint Clair Girls Talk Vineyard Half - Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

Saint Clair Girls Talk Vineyard Half

Two of the “Ibbo Girls”, Julie and Sarina Ibbotson after completing the Vineyard Half.

Saint Clair Family Estate has been the principal sponsor of the Vineyard Half since its inception, 10 years ago.

If you’ve taken part in the Vineyard Half before, are lucky enough to live in Marlborough, or you’re simply a fan of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, you’re bound to be familiar with their exceptional wines, which are internationally-acclaimed and consistently ranked among the best in the world by various wine shows every year.

Not only do they make great wine, but they are great people. We love how the warmth and generosity of their family-centric business extends to the Vineyard Half; hosting us at their cellar door on race day, and providing a trophy bottle of Saint Clair wine for every Vineyard Half finisher – a real highlight for our participants.

For the past few years, Saint Clair Family Estate founder Judy Ibbotson and her daughters Julie and Sarina have taken up the challenge of the Vineyard Half several times.

Judy, Sarina and Julie will once again line up at the start line for the 2017 Vineyard Half, so we thought we’d find out what motivates them to keep coming back each year, and get some tips for our Vineyard Half first-timers. Thanks ladies!


How many times have you run the Vineyard Half, and what’s your PB?

Judy: I have run (at snail’s pace) all 10 Vineyard Halfs PB: around 2:30 (I was really stuffed at the finish).

Julie:  I have run it twice PB: just under two hours.

Sarina:  I have run it seven times (I took three years out with the children) PB 1:48.


Describe your approach to running in two words.

Judy: A challenge!

Julie:  Enjoy, breathe, take in the scenery (not two words I know).

Sarina: Keep going.


What motivates you to take part each year?

Judy:  A good reason to keep up my fitness.


What’s your goal for the 2017 Vineyard Half?

Julie:  The main goal is to be fit enough to participate and enjoy it without it being too uncomfortable and enjoy a wine or two at the finish line – and beat Sarina, hehe.

Sarina: To finish and be able to move ok the next day.


What’s your favourite part on the Vineyard Half?

Judy: Coming down the river.  It’s quite beautiful, and by that stage, you’ve turned a corner, and heading homeward to celebrate with a wine or two!


Favourite place for a training run?

Sarina: In the Wither Hills Farm Park, behind Blenheim – specifically the Split Apple track between the Withers and Mt Vernon.


Do you listen to music when you’re training?

Julie: Just a random playlist. Sometimes I listen to my son Harvey’s playlist (he is eight and into breakdancing and I like some of his music.)  Or an audio book – currently I’m listening to the Andre Agassi autobiography.


Who would you most like to do the Vineyard Half with?

Judy: Neal (husband) or Mark (son-in-law) haha!!!

Julie: Sarina as we are about the same pace. She is good to go on training runs with – as she is faster than me and pushes me.

Sarina: A group of family and friends with a large celebration planned after the finish.


What’s your top tip for Vineyard Half first timers?

Judy: Relax and enjoy, have fun along the way.