Marathon du Médoc 2014: A Masquerade

This was well before any notion of fatigue set in...

Third Time’s a Charm

Two Americans, an Aussie, and a Singaporean walk into a marathon…

It was just another Saturday in the Médoc region of France when 10,000 runners and wine lovers descended upon the sleepy town of Pauillac, north of Bordeaux. Dressed in their Carnival finest, we were ready to run the world’s longest marathon.

Fireworks burst overhead at 9:30AM as we set off on a 42 kilometer trek unlike any other in the world. Musicians lined the streets as locals joined runners from around the world, cheered on by an equally international crowd. Water was plentiful, but played second fiddle at this marathon.

I’ve written about it before, and I’ll say it again. It bears repeating. There's a reason I've come back for a third time. We drink wine – hearty red wine – at multiple chateaux along the route, racing towards the last few kilometers where oysters (with white wine), steak, and ice cream await the willing.

And we were all willing.
30th birthday!

Just Like Bourbon Street

The Americans on our team, being the seniors, opted for a Mardi Gras theme. The marathon requires costumes, especially during this year’s 30th anniversary. The theme was “Carnival Around the World” and we brought a slice of the US to the table.

With purple, gold, and green beads rattling and feathers strategically giving our sun-beaten faces some shade around the halfway mark, we trudged through each kilometer, stopping at the majority of wine stations. We chased the red with water, staying hydrated in the very persistent September sun. Forty two kilometers of vineyards, chateaux, wine, and nibbles…life is hard.

With feather boas, sequins, Venetian masks, and bells, most runners understood the theme. But a selection of random of scantily clad men bearing their behinds under a hula skirt, at least two Santa Claus, and a recently married Japanese couple in bridal getup missed the mark slightly. But no one minded.

At the end, we nabbed our medals, some more water, and a parting gift – a bottle of wine and a set of Reidel glasses, which wasn’t a cheap compensation. Happy birthday, indeed, Marathon du Médoc!

The team.
Lessons Learned

This year, now my third, I learned a few things. First, running in a costume is always a bad idea but you can’t run this marathon without it. Just go with it and enjoy the ridiculousness of being surrounded by thousands of people who are doing the same. More is better.

Second, running marathons doesn’t really get easier, but you learn how to cope with the pain, which does seem to lessen over time. My first marathon I was hobbling and in bed by 7PM. This year, I didn’t really feel too bad at all (two years later!). And I stayed awake to consume several slices of pizza topped with duck, ham, and sausage. As one does.

Third, all marathons need wine. No discussion needed.

Fourth, when the marathon does have wine (again, they all should), you push the limit, in my case, rolling in just 14 minutes before the clock struck 6.5 hours. A little too fast for my taste.

Finally, it may be time to find another marathon in September temporarily, to make sure I don’t get too use to the wine and running. Plus, I should give someone else the chance to experience the ridiculousness of the Marathon du Médoc. 

Keep an eye on their webpage for the 2015 registration! I know I will, just in case...

How we roll...