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Pre race day

On the 1st March at 9am I was on the computer getting my entry sorted for the Medoc marathon. After missing out last year as it had already sold out by the time I got home from work I was determined that I was going to get in this year! The race attracts people from all over the world and I was lucky enough to get in alongside 4956 people from France, 1081 other brits, 305 Japanese, 25 Italians, 2 Mexicans, 6 from Iceland, 1 Kenyan, 17 from New Zeland, 87 Canadians and many more natioanlities represented.

 

On the Friday we flew out of Gatwick and landed at Bordeaux airport and was lucky to get straight onto the bus into Bordeaux centre so we could check into the Hotel. You can reach the city centre by taking the Nevette Shuttle 30’ direct which goes through to the train station (Gare de Bordeaux St Jean), however we went with the much cheaper option of taking the local bus (bus line 1) which is only €1.70 for a single ticket or €4.50 for an unlimited dayticket.

 

We stayed at the Ibis Bordeaux Centre Meriadeck as it is right in the centre of town and easy to get to everything. On the Médoc Marathon website there is the opportunity to book onto a shuttle bus that takes you to and from the expo, however we were too late an so got the train from Gare de Bordeaux St Jean out there to Pauillac instead, which was easy enough and about the same price of 21 euros. There is an option to pick up your race number on the day, but the expo is absolutely the best expo I have ever been to and so well worth going to the day before. I have never been to an expo before where there is wine tasting along the road to the entrance and a lot of other race stalls giving away wine, beer and cider along with the flyers, it was certainly setting the tone for the next day.

A cheeky glass of wine on the way round

Race day

Race day is an early start, there are buses laid on for the start that you need to book in advance, they are only €7 return and we were picked up close to the Monument aux Girondins. We boarded the bus at 6:15 along with a load of other people in fancy dress costumes ready to go towards the start back in Pauillac. Once we had dropped our bags off we lined up ready to start, there are 8,500 participants in total, pretty much all in fancy dress and with the theme being amusement parks there was some pretty crazy carousel and fun fair style floats at the start line. The atmosphere was just crazy, with music playing and fighter jets flying above the crowds and helicopters filming everything. I have never experienced anything like it.

 

The race started and we ran into the town where there were loads of people cheering and filming along the streets. Within a half mile of the start you hit the first wine stop of the 22 tasting stops along the course. My friends Paul & Caroline had completed the race last year and warned us that the town can be a bit of a bottleneck so we skipped this one to give us a chance to split away from the chaos of  the first few miles. It wasn’t long before we were through the town and into the first wine yard & reached the next wine stop and this one we didn’t miss! We started off again and came to the first chateaux of 53 chateaux’s which had a pool out the front and inside it was a group of people in duck outfits, which was hilarious to watch. At this point we are about 3 miles in and already we are at the 3rd wine stop and people are already swimming fully clothed!

5 little ducks having an early bath

Over the next 20ish miles the course goes through numerous vineyards and chateaux’s and the wine stops felt like they were really close to each other. It was a really, really hot day and the fancy dress made it more challenging but with so many opportunities to stop and get a drink or snack it made the heat more bearable and extra water stops had been laid on too. A lot of the chateaux’s also had various types of music, which was good to have a bit of a dance on the way round. Around mile 16 one of the wine fields was full of colourful balloons, it was an amazing sight and around mile 20 there was a field full with about 8 different wine tables that looked like a village fete. The last 3 miles is just one long stretch of road, that in the heat felt like twice as long as that but with an oyster stall about 1.5 miles from the finish and then an ice cream stop about half a mile from the finish, I swear I have never appreciated an ice cream so much in my life!

At the end of the race we were given the best goodie bag ever, a bottle of red wine and a Medoc Marathon designed large cool bag. After I’d finished the race there was only an hour until our pre-booked coach left to take us back to Bordeaux and it was a 20 minute walk away. This only gave enough time to collect the bags from the slowest bag drop I’ve ever experienced and leave so no party tent for me this year. Next time I would look to get the train back and so I would have time to chill out before heading straight back. Cut off for this race is usually 6 hours 30 mins but this year it was extended to 7 hours due to the heat. This is a race where you would want to be out on the course as long as possible and make the most of all the wine stops, there was one rose stop and one white wine and the rest are all red wine. I drank more red wine on this race than I have done in my whole life! This race definitely has to be on the to do list for anyone that enjoys wine and fancy dress.

2018 video

Sightseeing in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a really easy city to get around, you can see most sights by foot but there is also a really Tram system that runs throughout the city.

 

Our Hotel was close to the Cathedrale Saint-Andre which is a stunning Gothic style cathedral that has hosted two royal marriages and is set in a beautiful square with cafes that you can sit in and enjoy the view. From the cathedral you can jump on a tram and get the red line (Tram B) out to La Cite du Vin to visit the famous wine museum. From the wine museum you can walk back along the river and stop along the way to see the Monument aux Girondins, walk down to the Grand Theatre and then walk back towards the river to the Miroir d’Eau which is a stunning bit of art where the floor goes one minute to being covered in water and the next minute the water is drained & gives a mirrored effect and then steam comes out of it, a fantastic picture moment.

Once visiting these sites there isn’t much more to see but there is lots and lots of little bars and restaurants down various side streets and squares that are worth visiting. Some restaurants you can get a 3 course meal for €18 and then other bars it’s €7 euros for just one beer so it’s worth looking around before settling down into a restaurant or bar, with so many to choose from you won’t struggle to find anywhere to go.

Cathedrale St-Andre

Monument aux Girondins

Miroir d’Eau

Absolutely stunning when it’s like a giant mirror