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The Grand Cru of Marathons

17 February 2015

by Karen Christian (@learningtodrink)

Every September for the last 30 years thousands of wine lovers have gathered in a small corner of South West France to share their passion for wine… and running. Yes, you read right. The Medoc, home to some of the most famous wines in the world, is also home to what is known amongst those that have experienced it as the ‘Party Marathon.’ This marathon will not only test your ability to run long distances, but also your ability to survive a weekend of wine (a lot), food (even more), music and general gaiety with fellow runners from around the globe. Oh, and don’t forget the compulsory fancy dress!

I’ve taken part in (and survived) the last three year editions of the Medoc Marathon or to give it its proper name ‘Le Marathon le Plus Long du Monde.’ The event starts on Friday with the registration and running expo in Pauillac after which you can take part in either a pasta party or sit-down meal (both with copious amounts of wine) in a local château. Many runners camp in Pauillac as there are few hotels nearby, or in Bordeaux itself, where you can use the shuttle buses to get to and from the marathon.

The marathon is on Saturday and takes costume-clad runners (think Roman legionnaires, carnival dancers and too many nearly-bare bums), through some of the most expensive and stunning vineyards in the world; Châteaux Latour, Lafitte and Mouton Rothschild, to name a few. There are 22 refreshment stands offering wine and water, and 21 food stands, including crêpes, waffles, oysters and ice-cream. It is a marathon itself just to get through the food and wine! Oh, and don’t forget the free beer for all those that finish. On Saturday night there is a riverside party and fireworks in Pauillac (more wine, food and live music), which all your friends and family can attend.

On the Sunday, if you feel up to it, you can take part in the ‘recovery walk’, which takes you through more stunning vineyards (2014 included Château Margaux), with more wine, food and music, followed by a food festival or if you can manage it another sit-down meal.

The atmosphere at the Medoc Marathon is incredible. The locals and organisers pull-out all the stops and make this one of the most amazing events, let alone marathons, that you will ever take part in. Over three days you will drink incredible wines, eat fine food and make new friends. Now what are you waiting for? Go get your trainers on and start running!

Registration for the 31st Medoc Marathon opens in March. Places go quickly so keep an eye on the event page for more details.


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