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France’s Marathon du Medoc

Costumed runners fill the street

Time to stop for a wine tasting

T H E L O N G E S T M A R AT H O N I N T H E W O R L D I N C L U D E S 2 1 W I N E TA S T I N G S story and photos by BJ Oudman

“Trois, deux, un...allleeeezzz.... “ Amidst the cheering, music and general revelry, the crowd of 9,000 costumed runners pressed forward, eager to cross the start line of the longest marathon in the world: Marathon du Medoc, revered by wine geeks for twenty one winetasting stops through châteaux properties of Bordeaux, France. Yup, you still have to run 42 km, but to all the hopeful participants, it’s worth every agonizing stride. The idea of partaking in this spectacle was sparked years ago over a dinner party conversation about milestone birthday goals. My partner’s goal was pretty clear – to run the Marathon du Medoc by the time she was 50. Karen and I and our running buddies joked about it for years during our long Saturday morning runs, but 2016 was the deadline and it could not be pushed off for another year. As participants in this event, Team Bucket-list shares 10 Words Of Wisdom (WOW) here to optimize success, should you, the reader, choose to take this challenge.

Roman soldiers with their Trojan horse

Scheduled for September 10, 2016, the marathon offered two options for registration – buy the marathon package deal that included accommodation, transportation and a race bib, or have perfect timing and enter independently. Our group of eight put down a rental deposit on a little chateau in November 2015; now all we had to do was get in when the time came. Registration opens in the “beginning of March,” no exact day or time provided. Fortunately, one of my frequent visits to the website resulted in successful registration during the four-hour window before the race sold out. WOW #1 – “friend” the marathon on Facebook for hints as to registration opening time keeping the time change in mind. Knowing that we were in, we circulated training schedules and our weekly runs got longer, giving us ample time to plan details and debate costume design. Additional training of our palates was, of course, necessary, with bottles of Bordeaux wine opened at every social occasion. WOW #2 – each year has a different theme – take the requirement to run in costume seriously! Participants put as much effort into their outfits as they do into physical training! The 2016 theme was Tales and Legends – what was more fitting for us than “legend of the wild Canadian west?” We wore kneehighs designed as cowboy boots, fringed vests and hats and accented them with Stampede pins, scarves and plenty of Canadian tattoos.

Team Bucket-list – costumed as the wild Canadian west


The Marathon du Medoc is not just about running. It is 42 km long, but that’s where similarities to other marathons end. First of all, it’s a minimum three-day commitment. Marathon Day eve includes the race package pick-up (but instead of energy gel and electrolyte replacement powder samples, wine, foie gras and other gastronomic goodies are free to sample) as well as an open door to many

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