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Michael MacLennanThu 06 Oct 2011 18:00
Well, it’s been just under a month since my last blog for this, since which I did a half-marathon then two full marathons. So a lot to discuss...
I’d meant to write after the Marathon du Medoc (which took place on Saturday September 10), but was waiting until the video I’m making of that was ready. Since other commitments have means that’s still to be finished, best start now I guess before it’s only a few weeks until the next one.
For those who don’t know, the Marathon du Medoc starts in Pauillac, Bordeaux – the heart of wine country. A full marathon route, it stretches through lush vineyards, the chateau’s opening their gates to allow runners to sample some of their products.
Along the way there’s apparently 21 ‘refreshment’ stops – to be honest I lost count after the first few – each of which offer you some of the finest wine you’re ever going to taste. While you’re running a marathon, lest we forget.
To be as brief as I can be, it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. The majority seemed to be in fancy dress, with the theme in 2011 ‘animals’. Me and my friends decided to have some fun with that by going as several Steve Irwins, the famed (and much missed) wildlife expert. Our Australian accents could best be described as dodgy, but I think we just about got away with it, though we disappointingly failed to spot too many crocodiles.
The weather was absolutely unbelievable , which in a sense made things tougher, especially when imbibing as much wine as body and soul would allow. It felt like there was a massive party at each stop, and everyone was so friendly that it was massively different to the more solitary nature of other marathons I’ve done. The only thing that stops me from recommending it heartily is the fear that if enough extra people then sign up it’ll prevent me from returning in 2012. Fantastic.
I had done the Great Scottish Run the week before that, at which I turned up hungover and managed to get sunburnt. Despite this I enjoyed myself, and was happy enough to do the half-marathon in under two hours. Another great event, but I wouldn’t expect anything less...
And on Sunday I did the Loch Ness Marathon – it was the first marathon I ever did, all the way back in 2005 when I decided to do the run to shake me out of what I call my ‘Fat Elvis’ phase. Participants get taken by bus from Inverness to the middle of nowhere, then run alongside the loch for much of the journey, taking in some breathtaking scenery before finally returning to the capital of the Highlands.
This time was perhaps the toughest – it had been only three weeks since Medoc, and my leg’s didn’t appreciate the idea of doing two marathons in such a short space of time. For that reason it was my slowest trek (a leisurely four hours and 16 minutes) but I made sure to try and enjoy myself instead, and succeeded about as much as was possible given that I was running like a complete gibbon non-stop for several hours.
So that’s that for the main running season! I’ve now got less than 50,000 metres to go of the challenge, so once the leg aches have calmed down I’m hoping to cross the imaginary finishing line sometime over the next couple of weeks. (Quite proud that I’m well ahead of schedule.) At that point I might take a rest, though given the odd amount of enjoyment I’ve received from those three events over the past month I might have to continue in training for another marathon or two next year. Medoc 2012 here I come...