Preparing for a marathon is a grueling prospect involving months of training. For one French marathon, however, getting those all-important miles is only half the battle.
Passing through some of the most prestigious wine-making villages in Bordeaux, the Marathon du Médoc combines a 26.2-mile road race with a 23-stop wine-tasting drinkathon. To succeed in this event, runners must be just as comfortable with a corkscrew as they are in a pair of JackRabbit sneakers.
The Marathon du Médoc debuted in 1985 and is held every September, with more than 8,500 runners expected from around the world.
Each participant is expected to indulge in 23 glasses of fine wine and feast on local specialties, including oysters, foie gras, and cheese. If the extensive distance and intoxicating “aid” stations weren’t enough, competitors must also don costumes and complete the course in less than six and a half hours to avoid disqualification. Oh, and did we mention that Bordeaux temperatures average an uncomfortable 75 degrees during this time of year?
Starting and ending in the small town of Pauillac, the route tours 59 châteaux and vineyards, including legendary first-growth Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild.
Winners of both the men’s and women’s races are rewarded with their body weight in fine Médoc wines. It sure beats a bottle of Gatorade and packet of mini pretzels.