Have you ever looked at the countless marathons and sporting events around the world and thought, ‘you know what this needs more of? Wine and cheese.’? You are not alone. The Marathon du Médoc is a marathon that embraces the ethos of balance wholeheartedly and allows runners to stop for wine, cheese, music and even oysters along the way.
The Marathon du Médoc started in 1985 and thousands of people race through the picturesque Gironde region in France to compete for first place. Considering there are feasts, wine tastings and other fun activities along the 26 mile (42.2km) track, we’d say everyone is a winner.
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So why is it called the ‘World’s Longest Marathon’ when there are marathons out there that span 400 miles? Well they’ve claimed the title because the aim of the race isn’t to finish quickly, but rather to indulge in the sheer pleasure of feasting on the delicious treats and experiences along the way. At each wine stop there’s a live orchestra (France is so extra, we love it) and yummy local food, like oysters, cheese, ice cream, bread, pastries and even steak.
The average runner (if you’re still able to run after all that) samples at least 23 wine tastings along the way, which makes sense given that the Gironde region is known for it’s excellent wines. In fact, the running track even winds through the lovely vineyards and castles in the area.
Besides needing to be an avid foodie and moderately fit to participate, you must also dress up in Carnival themed outfits to be part of the fun. It’s a festive, vibrant atmosphere that makes it really hard to remember there’s meant to be a winner.
How seriously do people take the race given all the frivolity and feasting are you wondering? Well it depends. Locals cheer participants on with a little saying: ‘Pain is just the French word for bread’. It’s become a motto for the marathon as it reminds would-be winners that if they go ham on all the food and wine, they’ll get indigestion and be slowed down.
So many people are dying to be part of The Marathon du Médoc that only 10,000 of the 50,000 applicants make the cut to run. It’s held in September every year so we’d recommend getting in early and keeping your fingers crossed if this is on your bucket list!
Looking to see what other foodie delights France has to offer? Check out our travel guide…