A Marathon With A Twist –- The Marathon Du Médoc

STORY BY Megan Hughes 5th July 2019

When you think of running a marathon, what’s the first thing that springs to mind? For most people it will be thoughts of taking on the ultimate challenge – aching legs, blistered feet, pounding pavements and, finally, reaching that hallowed finish line with an unparalleled sense of achievement that you’ve completed this epic task.

 However, the Marathon du Médoc may just change all that. A marathon with a truly boozy twist, it is considered by many to be the “longest marathon in the world” – however, not for the reasons you might expect. The Marathon du Médoc is famous for its numerous mid-run stations, where runners fuel up for the miles ahead. But we don’t mean fuel up in the sense of protein bars and sugary energy gels – no, no, no. In classic French fashion, here provisions come in the shape of local wine and food tasting. Indeed, over the 26.2 miles, you will find 23 wine tasting stops. A brilliantly unique way to experience the South of France or the worst way imaginable to run a marathon? We’ll leave that one up to personal preference!

One thing that cannot be debated, however, is the beauty of this marathon course, meandering through the vineyards and stunning chateaus of Margaux, near Bordeaux. It’s a far cry from a city route, encouraging you to enjoy the local sights, sounds and delicious produce, with the 26 miles meaning you won’t feel too guilty about your consumption, both during and after the race!

First started in 1985, the Marathon du Médoc is held every September. The only rules? You have to be in fancy dress (the 2019 theme is superheroes) and you do have to run; walkers are afforded their own event the following day. Runners are by no means forced to stop for each and every wine tasting break, and aid stations are also fully stocked with traditional refreshments such as water, fruit and biscuits for those that may prefer this.

Once you reach the finish line, you will be rewarded with even more drinks, live music, oysters, steaks, cheese and ice cream to name but a few. However, these last rewards of the race are only awarded to those that finish within 6 hours 30 minutes, so make sure you get in under that time! And, for those that do have a competitive streak, the winner of the race is awarded their body weight in wine…

The marathon is limited to 8,500 runners and has become pretty popular in recent years, so make sure you’re quick off the mark if you want to get a spot next year!

Image Marathon du Médoc 2018 © Yves MAINGUY

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