Reaching its eighth edition, the Wine Marathon, the first charitable Mountain Bike contest in Romania was held on May 12, 2018. The competition took place in the city of Urlati, Prahova County, among the hills, vineyards and wine cellars in the area; hundreds of competitors of all ages, from all over the country, came to the starting line. The race consisted of several laps of about 18 km, and besides the two competition routes of 36 km (two laps) and 54 km (three laps), as in the previous editions, participants could opt for a third option, namely a single lap of 18 km, without timing and podium, recommended for the less experienced cyclists. Keeping the tradition of the previous editions, this year too, children had their own routes, but the staring and the finish line for all the competitors were in front of the Urlati City Hall. Participants had the following options: one lap (18 km) – without timing, for beginners, one lap (18 km) – children from 13 to 18, with timing, advanced level; two laps (36 km) – wit timing, intermediary level; three laps, with timing, advanced level; three laps (54 km) – elites and juniors, members of the Romanian Cycling Federation, with timing.
The winner of the Wine Marathon was cyclist Daniel Crista, while the second place belonged to Alexandru Stancu, the third place belonged to Attila Malnasi, the fourth one to Ede Molnar and the fifth one to Gherhard Dumitrescu.
The competition benefited from a splendid weather and the routes could also offer extremely beautiful landscapes to the two-wheel competitors, since besides asphalt and gravel segments of road, at the altitude of 440 meters, which was the highest point of the route, the landscape was really spectacular, and moreover, some parts of the route were winding through the vineyards.
As announced by the organizers of the event – BikeXpert Racing Team, the Wine Marathon aimed to combine, since its first edition, the promotion of cycling as a healthy and ecological living style, with the charitable action, by donating part of the proceeds. Thus, part of the proceeds of the Wine Marathon 2018 will be donated to the Foundation “Bucuria Ajutorului” in Urlati. Established in 2012, this foundation aims to prevent the school drop-out and social exclusion of the children in difficulty, by offering social, educational and psychological services to children in the region.
Children come at the center daily, and they receive food, clothes and school materials, being helped to do their homework. The day center of the foundation has its own farmhouse with orchard, vegetable garden, poultry and animals. In 2017, the Wine Marathon contributed to covering the necessary costs for the canteen of this foundation, which provides daily food for 30 children coming from disadvantaged families.