Last week, we brought you news of the world's shortest boozy race, a 0.5K, uh, stroll with beer at the start and finish lines. And now, I present the world's longest boozy race: the 26.2 mile Marathon du Médoc, a wine-drinking marathon in France in which participants are supposed to pair running with 23 glasses of Bordeaux wine. That seems ... not what marathons are intended for, but it certainly sounds more pleasant than pairing running with protein gels and chafed nipples, so.
Apparently, the Marathon du Médoc is an age-old tradition, dating all the way back to, um, 1985. Every September, thousands of people from all over the world descend upon Bordeaux to take part in the race, which is essentially the opposite of a regular marathon. According to the Guardian, participants dress in costume instead of JackRabbit gear, which means attendees might show up as sexy policemen, Smurfs, zombies, or zebras; they wind through beautiful vineyards and chateaus, where they stop for wine, cheese, waffles, fruits and oysters, which cannot possibly be conducive foods for exercise; there is at least one steak break, and, of course, there are the aforementioned 23 glasses of wine. The race takes about six and a half hours, and unlike real marathon races, participants are encouraged to take that time, and not actually speed through it all. But even without a sprint, the race does lead to some, uh, interesting moments, like this one in the Guardian:
Plodding along in my own merry way, I’m quite oblivious to the mileage we’re getting through. It’s Birdy who breaks into a spontaneous, projectile vomit around 18 miles (29km), necessitating another Imodium tablet. “Too late,” he shouts, seconds later, running off at a speed we could have done with a while back towards the nearest chemical toilet.
Finally, after mile 23, the oyster stop. God, the cool, lemony, saltiness washed down with white wine tastes incredible. To me, anyway. Half a mile from the end, Birdy keels over for his second vomit. Instantly a group of medics are around him checking that he’s OK. “He’s fine – just too much – you know,” I assure, making a drinking motion.
So, yes, people vomit on the Marathon du Médoc, though organizers say they take health very seriously. The Guardian notes that the race is heavily staffed with medical support, which makes sense, considering oysters, sun, and wine can't possibly make for pleasant activity. On the event's website, there's a link to a medical certificate runners are required to obtain to participate, which a doctor's signature and date. (Note that you must have been born before September 8th, 1998, to run.)
The race isn't particularly cheap either — in addition to airfare to and from Bordeaux, you'll have to pay 87€ just for a bib, with different events and tiers knocking the price all the way up to 177€. And if you're trying to get your wine run on this year, note that registration is currently closed, though you can try your luck with the waitlist.
The event does look extremely beautiful, if vaguely harrowing:
Though there are some very serious runners, for some reason, it looks like plenty of people come for the scenery, booze, and bites, and the race is really just for fun. Plus, the drunker you get, the faster a run goes by, which is not necessarily good medical advice and/or practice, but it is how I exercised in college and occasionally attend yoga in adulthood, not that my joints are happy about it.
In fact, I'm going to go for a run later this afternoon — should I pregame with some wine? TBD.