If you love costume parties, wine tasting and gourmet food, there’s an incredible event in France tailor-made just for you. It happens every September in Bordeaux. However, you have to run, walk or jog between wine tastings.
The Marathon du Médoc has been an annual tradition for more than 30 years. Once an insider secret, this 26.2-mile party has now become an international phenomenon.
While most races offer standard hydration and snack stations, this marathon boasts fine wines paired with gourmet foods as fuel. Along the route are a whopping 23 different wines available for runners to taste. The wines are superb; it is Bordeaux, after all. And only adding to the classiness of this event, the wines are served in real glasses. No flimsy paper cups here!
It’s no surprise, then, that oenophiles and runners alike travel from around the world to participate. They’re not running for a record time, though. They’ve come for the festive atmosphere.
Every year, there’s a different theme — like Music in 33.3RPM, Tales and Legends and Amusement Park — to guide costume selection. Runners are expected to show up to the starting line decked out, and they don’t disappoint.
This video from the 2017 race gives a taste of the shenanigans.
All runners have 6.5 hours to navigate the stunning route. The course is hilly and winds through the world-renowned wine region, along paved roads and gravel driveways. It has plenty of gorgeous vistas to distract from sore muscles, at least until the wine kicks in.
Anyone who manages to eschew wine for time gets a one-of-a-kind trophy. The winner receives their own body weight in wine. Past winners have clocked speedy times around 2.5 to 3 hours.
After the marathon of wine tasting, there are pasta dinners and even more wine flowing during the post-race party. Everyone who finishers within the time limit receives a medal and a bottle of wine.
If 26.2 miles is still too far, there are more leisurely alternatives. The Marathon du Médoc weekend also includes a 10K walk on Sunday morning. Along the route, marathoners and their friends can meander along the vineyards of Margaux. Instead of racing for the finish, participants soak in the sights and sounds at a reasonable pace.
Closer to home, Destination Races hosts a series of Wine Country Half Marathons in the grape-growing regions of California, Oregon and Virginia. Runners get a wine glass along with their medal after crossing the finish line to enjoy wines from local producers.
Similarly, Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a popular all-night party running through three Disney theme parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The finish line features a private runner party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
So, is one of these wine-filled races incentive enough to lace up your sneakers and reap the benefits of running?