Medoc Marathon September 8th, 2012
Report by Ian Blagg (Tadley Runners)
Tadley Runners introduced me to the Medoc Marathon in 2007, when three of us ran it. Then, like most marathon runners, I went to this Bordeaux event more concerned about my running time than anything else. That year it was warm (25c) and whilst I ran in fancy dress (a caveman outfit), and sampled a few wines I completely missed what Medoc is all about.
This year I’d learnt from my mistakes.
My three adult children, all wine drinkers, entered with me, and with our friends we assembled a team of 9 runners, including 4 new to the marathon – but not red wine.
This year it was a bit warmer – well quite a bit warmer at 33c. Still, our fancy dress (sort of mandatory for Medoc) wasn’t too bad – Roman togas in line with our team name – Silchester Sippers (drinkers with a running problem).
We arrived at about 9.00 ready for the 9.30 start – just in time to see an English castle being rolled towards the start guarded by English Soldiers who were obviously protecting the Holy Grail (the Medoc theme was running through the ages).
At 9.15 the entertainment started (a dome suspended from a crane supported various acrobats, and there were a number of fly-pasts from French military jets).
The run started on time, and the first wine stop was within a few hundred yards. And so it continued for the next 25 miles. There at least 26 wine stops and my daughter and I didn’t miss a single one. Due to a knee injury the furthest she’d run prior to Medoc was 13 miles, but due to sponsorship in support of a colleague (http://www.justgiving.com/user/27206462) she was determined to finish. We adopted a run 2 min/walk 1 min strategy, but due to frequent wine stops our pace was a bit slower than planned. The pain in her knee started at about 11 miles, but we managed to reach 13 miles in 2:30 which gave us enough time, if necessary, to walk the rest and get to the finish before the 6:30 cut-off.
The route wound its way through over 30 vineyards and chateaux, including producers of the world’s most exclusive (and expensive) wines. Some Chateaux offered their wine in plastic cups, but it was obvious some vineyards (including Chateau-Lafite Rothschild) wouldn’t allow their wine to be served in such a way and fine glasses were used. The wine and fantastic entertainment at the Chateaux provided some distraction from the heat, but it was very warm, and after half-way more were walking than running. The last few km ensured we were well fed, with oysters (my son managed 4), steak, cheese, and ice cream, and my group (5 –friends caught us at about 18 miles) crossed the line just under 6 hours. As well as the medal, the ladies were presented with a red rose, and we all received a bottle of fine St. Estephe Medoc wine.
No doubt about it –the Medoc Marathon is unique in its “fun” approach. They even provide a 10k “recovery walk” the following day through a few more vineyards where even more wine is on offer.
If you only ever do one marathon make it Medoc.
Photo: Ian and Natalie with some other runners at one of the chateaux.