Marathon du Médoc 2013: A Running Odyssey

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Marathon du Médoc 2013: A Running Odyssey

It was probably around the 39th kilometer when the pirate handed me the jug.

“Is it really rum?” I asked.

“Yes, it really is,” he responded. “Go on, have some.”

He was pushing along a giant pirate ship and was appropriately barefooted, as any pirate running a marathon should be. I couldn’t say no. I took a swig and passed it to Heather, who hardly hesitated. Pirates of the Caribbean is one our favorite rides at Disneyland, after all. It was close enough to science fiction, this year's theme, but any reason for rum is reason enough for me.

The gentle burning down my throat was a nice distraction to the hammering of my feet along the pavement and the ever-creeping concern that I haven’t peed in a while. I was also mildly concerned that my teeth would be wine-stained for the finish line photo. And was the glitter and silver paint all over my body still visible? I needed to look as sci-fi as possible.

Such are the thoughts that run through one’s mind while running the infamous Marathon du Médoc.

And they're off!
Starting line...Space Cowboys and aliens....

While most marathons are feats of strength and endurance, this year’s Médoc was more of a test of my liver’s proper functioning. During the 2012 Marathon du Médoc, my first marathon ever, I hardly touched a glass of the 20+ tastings offered at the chateaux in one of the world’s most famous wine regions. Yes, we drink while running a marathon, but I was too scared to enjoy it fully. Now, a novice marathoner (I’ve already run 42k twice and am well aware of its effects on my body), I figured I could kick back and enjoy at least some of the wine along the route.

Little did I know how easy it would be to enjoy just about all of it.

By my estimate, I only missed one of the official 20 tastings, though there were more available thanks to kindly merchants along the way. When I saw the man holding the tray of pate and white wine, well, I didn’t care if it was “official.” Fellow runners Heather and Amy were much more selective in their wine choices, but rarely hesitated when I offered a glass of red.

Classy chateau/wine pic c/o Amy...

The last 10km, normally the most painful, were much easier than I remembered. Maybe it was the training, but I like to think it was the wine. Only slightly buzzed (and far from trashed, mind you), I appreciated each glass of full-bodied red as much as the icy oyster, perfectly grilled entrecote steak, and chocolate popsicle that baited us along the final stretch. If only every marathon were this delicious…

Almost kilometer 42 with...whoever this guy is...
Rum-filled pirates...
And the pirate’s rum was the perfect digestif to take us across to the finish line, ending yet another extraordinary, out of this world marathon. Next year, however, I won’t miss a single tasting…

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