Drink Wine, Eat Oysters, And Sample Foie Gras While Running This French Marathon

If you can't envision yourself stepping out of the house to go for a run, the Marathon du Médoc tempts race participants with glasses of wine and booths filled with snacks. As runners make their way through vineyards and the chateaux-spotted countryside, wine-tasting stations set up throughout the course reward efforts with glasses of Bordeaux local to the area. Talk about encouragement. 

Established in 1984, the Medoc has cemented its place in the world of bucket list marathons. Each year, race organizers announce a different motto for participants to interpret as they wish. From gastronomy to "Make your Games" ("Faits vos Jeux" in French, a theme meant to pay homage to Paris hosting the 2024 Olympics), many runners in this unique race arrive at the starting point in Pauillac dressed in costumes. 

Before the race begins, the city fills with tents and vendors toting wine and locally made cheeses. Once runners start the course, the 26.2-mile race is lined with stations that offer blue cheese and biscuits, oysters, chocolate fountains, charcuterie, steak, and pieces of cake. For marathon runners used to noshing on bananas and oranges, this is a dramatic departure from the norm.

Your first challenge is getting registered

Space is limited in the Marathon du Médoc, and the race generally sells out quickly after registration opens. Organizers cap entries at 8,500 runners, and those lucky enough to get in can also sign up for pre-race parties and post-race celebrations. The night before the race, a wine and pasta party is held at a chateau to get participants amped for the next day's activities. The evening following the race, organizers schedule music, fireworks, and dancing to keep the spirit of revelry going strong. The day after the race, a visit to a local vineyard offers runners one last taste of wine while walking off any lingering pains from the marathon.

For those who make it to the finish line, runners are rewarded with a bottle of Medoc, surprise gifts, and race paraphernalia like t-shirts and medals to mark the accomplishment of running long distances through French vineyards. This kind of activity is guaranteed to fill not only your stomach but also your social feeds.