I have done a bunch of marathons in my life. At one time I used to do three or four a year. My rule for marathons is: never do the same one more than once. Nope! I have never done the same marathon twice, not even Boston.
As readers of this blog know, I am currently registered for two marathons – Tunnel Vision Marathon in Washington state in August and Marine Corps Marathon in October. Unfortunately, I am burned out with marathon training so these might be the last ones I do for a while. My plan for after October is to concentrate on shorter, funner races.
There is one marathon that I would consider altering that plan for, however. It is held in France each September, the Marathon du Medoc.
Officially called Le Marathon des Chateaux du Medoc, it is held in the town of Medoc in the Bordeaux region of France. Most of the participants run in costume, but not just any costume. Each year there is a theme. For 2018 the theme is “Amusement Park“. Your costume must fit in with the theme.
The pre-race pasta dinner is held in Chateau Marquis de Terme in Margaux. Here, you and 1400 of your closest friends will dine on pasta in a beautiful chateau and vineyard located on the marathon route. Or you can opt for the “Pâtes-à-Caisse” meal in the Saint Estèphe festival hall, which includes singing, dancing, and a lot of pre-race wine.
Concerned about drinking wine before a marathon? Don’t be. In the Marathon du Medoc, there are 23 wine stops. Yes. During the marathon. Of course, you can also get water, which might be a good idea, especially early in the race. Also served at the aid stations: steak, oysters, pate de Fois Gras, cheese, fruit, waffles, ice cream, and other local specialties. No gel packs here!
The race winds its way along picturesque country roads in the heart of Bordeaux wine country. The famous Chateau Lafite Rothschild is approximately the halfway point of the race, and runners have been known to cool off by jumping in the Chateau’s lake. You cannot linger too long at the lake, however, because there is a 6 hour 30 minute time limit for the race.
After the race, there is wine tasting (of course there is) at the Village hall of St Estephe, followed by a show and fireworks.
The following day, marathoners are invited to a 10k “Recovery Walk” along part of the race course, including – wait for it – more wine tasting at vineyards on the route. Walkers are entertained by live bands along the way. A luncheon follows the walk at Chateau Lamothe Bergeron with singing, dancing and, you guessed it, wine.
10,000 people run the Marathon du Medoc each year, and each year registration sells out in less than a day. The marathon’s website does not tell you the exact date registration opens, only “early March“. Potential racers tell stories of religiously checking the website each day beginning in late February in order to secure a spot.
I think this is the type of race I would enjoy training for. I have little doubt I could cross the finish line of a marathon in 6 1/2 hours so my training would not consist of running. My training would have to consist of learning to drink all that wine! If that is not the definition of “fabulous” in marathoning, I don’t know what is.