With greater than 20 wine stops and oysters and steak on route, right here’s how we bought on on the Marathon du Medoc. Hic.
A few weeks in the past, as I used to be taking off my wine-stained working equipment to have a bathe, an avalanche of sweaty confetti fell from my sports activities bra.
It had been thrown there a number of hours earlier by a person dressed as the favored chocolatey unfold Nutella. He was sitting on a big metallic float wheeled by six ladies sporting pink wigs, hooped petticoats and armed with a bubble machine.
And this, in a nutshell, is what you possibly can count on from the surreally fantastic world of Marathon Des Chateaux du Médoc.
Not precisely your common working race, the Médoc is like pulling in your trainers and taking a jog by another person’s trippy cheese dream. You’re by no means fairly positive what’s occurring however, unusually, you prefer it.
So, what precisely is the Marathon du Medoc?
Now in its 34th 12 months, the Médoc is a 26.2 mile romp by the wine-growing area of the identical identify, simply north of Bordeaux in South West France. It’s change into a little bit of a bucket checklist occasion amongst runners promoting out sharpish yearly, with locations for 2018 snapped up in simply 20 hours. The rationale for its recognition? Du vin.
The marathon course, which winds by the vineyards and previous the chateaux of among the area’s most interesting wine producers, has 20-plus stops on route the place you possibly can pattern native wines (sure, at every one!) and absorb the alcohol with delicacies together with oysters, steak, ice cream and native canalé pastries.
Fancy costume is obligatory – it’s within the race guidelines, there are stay bands, you get a free bottle of plonk on the finish, and the female and male winners obtain their weight in Médoc wine. In brief, it is a race the place boozing, consuming and partying is actively inspired. Preferrred.
What’s the cope with signing up?
For those who had been to ask me to checklist my prime 5 favorite issues, working, fancy costume and wine would all be in there (the opposite two shall stay non-public however one among them’s crisps). So when associates beginning throwing across the thought of taking up the Marathon du Médoc this 12 months, my reply was ‘Mais oui’.
Locations go on sale in March and whereas we missed out on the usual €87 entries, there are a great deal of tour packages. Beginning at round €230, these embody entry, lodging at various costs in Bordeaux, and transfers to gather your quantity and take you to and from the race begin, which is within the small city of Pauillac, simply over an hour’s journey from Bordeaux.
This protects fairly a little bit of problem reserving extra transport and means, whenever you see a naked chested man dressed as Poseidon on the lodge breakfast buffet, you’re feeling assured nipping over and having a chat.
How many individuals run the Marathon du Médoc?
Flying into Bordeaux from London, the aircraft was stuffed with runners – this 12 months’s fancy costume theme was Amusement Park and the twirly strongmen moustaches of a few of our fellow travellers had been a useless giveaway.
There’s a global area however Brits make up the second largest nationality group after French. Out of eight,500 rivals there have been greater than 1,000 of us buggers. It’s because Brits are eager sportspeople and appreciators of the bucolic French countryside, obvs.
The lady I sat subsequent to on the aircraft was really returning to Médoc for the fifth time. After I requested her what it was like she stated, ‘Oh it’s wonderful. But it surely’s nonetheless a marathon.’ She was proper.
One thing I’d conveniently managed to overlook in all of the pre-race pleasure, is that whereas it’s plenty of enjoyable, the Marathon du Médoc remains to be a bloody great distance.
Is there a cut-off time?
Lining up firstly on Saturday eight September, with the three different members of my group – Angela who worryingly had boarded the aircraft the day earlier than with a knee harm and a crutch, Danni who had by no means run additional than 13 miles and Jeanette who, like me, hadn’t precisely gone overboard on the coaching entrance – I did begin to surprise, will we make it in time?
As a result of, whereas the Médoc is prone to be your slowest ever marathon (I imply why would you go quick?!) you possibly can’t stroll all the best way. There’s a minimize off level of six and a half hours, which is fairly tasty whenever you consider all of the stops you’re making. They usually positively implement it, with a jolly sweep wagon coated in multi-coloured broom sticks by no means far out of your fleeing heels.
However hey, we had been going to present it a bash and within the spirit of camaraderie, if Angela’s knee bought too unhealthy to proceed, we had been going to ditch her on the roadside and run on! #friendshipgoals
What was the ambiance like?
Overlook nervous wees and checking your watch has bought GPS, firstly of Médoc you’re dodging glitter canons and testing everybody’s costumes – we thought we had been being authentic going as hook a duck, so did round 1,000 different folks.
There are floats often called ‘carts’, adorned like mini carnival floats that runners push spherical, throwing out sweets and colored smoke – one even had a barbecue on prime cooking sausages, my sleep disadvantaged mind couldn’t inform if this was actual or not.
Then the klaxon began and we had been off, a procession of geese, strongmen, dodgems and vikings (don’t know what vikings should do with amusement parks however I favored their ship) working by countryside villages and vineyards, coming to a standstill when a cart with an enormous inflatable duck on it bought caught down a slender alley.
The preliminary ‘Degustation’ cease comes 3km into the course at roughly 09.45 within the morning. The primary couple of stations get busy, although, so if you happen to can maintain out until round 10am in your inaugural drink of the day you’re laughing.
Did you get pissed?
There are two kinds of wine stops, these along with the highway manned by kids/outdated folks/chickens/anybody in the neighborhood who isn’t working, and the stops within the chateaux themselves.
On the roadside we grabbed a fast vino however on the chateaux, as your very uncool uncle would say, it was get together time. Every winery has it’s personal brass band or stay music, there have been decorations, dancing, runners dive bombing into lakes, and sugary flat coke and crisps. Saviour.
My predominant fear earlier than we began was that I’d find yourself getting smashed midway spherical and get up in a French barn two days later. Needn’t have bothered. Wine was taster dimension and when you might return and have as many as you wished, inside cause, the warmth of the day – it was 29 levels very first thing within the morning – meant you weren’t tempted to drink an excessive amount of. It was primarily crimson wine and that dehydrated tongue factor doesn’t work when it’s heat. The couple of miles working between chateaux helped to sweat a few of it out too. Mmm, wine sweat.
Did you beat the sweeper?
We misplaced Angela half manner spherical when her knee began to harm and he or she stated she was going to drop out however after just a few extra wines she was again like a duck-shaped boomerang (she’s Aussie) so all of us managed to complete – not collectively however close to sufficient.
Being vegan I stated shucks to the steak and oyster stalls – they’re all within the final 5 km as you head again into city, and after the cooler nation roads this lengthy straight patch of tarmac was bloody boiling. So I carried on, crossing the road 15 minutes forward of the sweeper – round 14 minutes and 59 seconds quicker than I used to be aiming for.
Would you run the Marathon du Médoc once more?
On ending we had been give a medal (normal), single rose (romantic), cooler bag (useful) and a bottle of wine. I had the hiccups.
On the bus residence somebody began opening wine bottles with their shoe. It is a race that by no means managed to get wherever close to regular. I favored it lots however I feel my mind wants a breather earlier than I do it once more.
It could actually additionally find yourself costing fairly a bit so subsequent 12 months we’ll go to Bacchus, the UK model at Denbies winery in Surrey. It won’t be as decadent however there’s a far more palatable half marathon choice. Médoc can wait until 2020 for our return.