Last weekend saw the 33rd Le Marathon du Médoc, run in the 33rd département of France with Buyer contributor Mike Turner joining the Pichon Baron team for the second year running. Last year he went dressed as Tinkerbell, this year it was less fairy dust and more Ziggy Stardust (or was that Cilla Black?). But you can’t just rock up and expect to run 26 miles without thinking it through first. Or can you…
This is the one occasion in the year when you can take a skinny dip in the lake at Lafite Rothschild, without anyone batting an eyelid. Be warned, this feature contains a photo of a naked arse.
From line-dancing with random French girls to Cotton Eye Joe at Château Lagrange, all the way to averting our eyes as a group of Right Said Fred impersonators had a naked swim in the lake at Lafite Rothschild, this year’s Marathon du Médoc did not disappoint.
The 33rd year of the event in the famous 33rd département of France once again saw competitors from all the way around the world descend on the Médoc for the only Marathon I have any cares to do.
A nudge over 26 miles, with 20 wine tasting stations en route, starting at kilometre 1 at Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, and culminating in the debauchery of song and dance at kilometre 37 when Château Montrose doles out the final bit of Dutch courage to get you to the finish line. Or at least to the oyster station at kilometre 38!
Be warned, this is genuine Marathon distance. Don’t expect to just rock up and run. Training is essential if you want to get around the whole course, but I’ve found that not exactly to be the most essential bit about the participation.
That’s the fancy dress clearly.
If you’re not in fancy dress then you’re very much in the minority. Go big or go home is the loud and clear message, and this year’s ‘Vinyl Records’ theme saw some absolute belters.
I saw plenty of Freddie Mercurys, including my friend Ben who I’m pretty sure must be related in some way to the mustachioed icon. I opted for a bit of Ziggy Stardust, although the first rain shower played havoc with my cheap water-based make up.
I don’t know, I just don’t think the practicalities through. Although I’m sure the guy who ran the whole think naked felt the same when it started hailing!!
This is a Marathon for those of you who’ve always kind of fancied it, but not too keen on the loneliness of the middle distance runner. People run as teams, getting everyone through to the next wine station, or the next band tent belting out everything from The Eagles, a touch of Edith Piaf, all the way to a cheeky bit of Pink Martini.
Get your head up, take your earphones out, and enjoy the spectacle.
As much of a jolly as it is for most of the participants, there’s still some serious competition going on. The commercial sponsors compete with each other in a joint team trial, as do the Châteaux, and competition is fierce.
Last year’s winners were Brane-Cantenac, whose top five runners completed it in an impressive combined time of 13 hours 24 minutes, with all five breaking the 3 hour marathon by some distance. Other Châteaux returned this year with bigger and better teams to claim the bragging rights. You’ve got to have a bit of an edge to it somewhere, right?
When it comes to Marathons, however, competing for bragging rights is slightly beyond me. So once again huge apologies to Team Pichon Baron as the 20h33 participants failed to trouble the scorers this time around, although I fear they were aware that that would be the case before the race started.
It’s not easy to pace yourself in a wig that is advertised for both Ziggy impersonators and anyone who fancies dressing as Cilla Black, especially the morning after a very enjoyable and welcome tasting session.
For anyone who thinks Bordeaux is stuffy or boring, firstly you’re a closed minded idiot that needs to start thinking for yourself for a change. Secondly, keep an eye out for when registrations open in April/May 2018. This is the best weekend in Bordeaux by a country mile!
Apart from the last 4kms.
They were shit 🙂
PS Congrats to Team Brane-Cantenac who won it again this year…the gits 😉