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Des Vins de Blaye Marathon

May 14, 2015
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My husband asked me yesterday what did I think of this race and all I can say is WoW!! What an experience! If you are ever thinking of doing this race and expect to do a good race time, then this is not the race for you! If you want something different and you want to experience some different culture, comradeship, the joining of a community and families coming together to enjoy this unbelievable bond they have with one and another (not so worried about how they were going to do on the day but most importantly that everyone enjoys the day.) If you want to be part of this, then this race is for you!
I came to this small community, unable to speak the language (which did cause some small frustrations between both myself and others) but could not of been more welcomed. The race started with a pre-dinner – Pasta Night, where the runners came together to celebrate with dinner and a few red wines. The French have many local songs I have not heard before, but everyone seemed to get involved in proudly singing and dancing to these. The guys actually danced more than the girls. An amazing night with an awesome meal!
The marathon the next day was too, an amazing event! It started with the costume judging and there were some fantastic outfits, wedding parties, Angel & Devil, Jesus, Priests, just to mention a few. Running through the fields just made it so entertaining, especially when they were playing their parts. Although I couldn’t understand the language, I could see the smiles on their faces.
When we entered each town, there were not only Mayors out to welcome us, the locals were set up outside their houses on the balcony eating and drinking, cheering us all on! Just amazing!
It was known that I was coming to celebrate my birthday, so there were signs on the course, congratulating me on my anniversary! An unexpected surprise, I was very overwhelmed!
I found the course quite difficult! There were hills…many hills! You all know how I love hills! There was grass trails (very uneven) yet the locals seemed to have no problems with these. The vineyards were loose gravel with rocks and pretty unstable, but again the locals must be used to it as they all just raced past me! (Or maybe I just need to train more on trails!) Even after they downed a few red wines! There were wine, food and sweets at every 2 to 3 k’s. Each local community organised each stop and ensured that a welcoming crowd were there to greet us! Just an unbelievable experience!!
The day ended with a closing night where we all came together to celebrate the day. Again another fond night. The locals and others came together celebrating with many local songs and dance. Every region in France was represented and proud to sing their own song and dance their own dance, louder and prouder than the previous night and all the young children were encouraged to join in! The French just seem to love life and make the most of every moment!
When we had to leave, I made a point of letting them know how much I enjoyed the experience and next minute I was up on stage (apparently they don’t see many Aussies) Because it was my birthday, in France, it is customary to be kissed by all the guys! Well what could I do but go along with customs!  I was given a gift of wine by the Mayor, and sent on my way, with wishes to return next year! From the time I arrived until the time I left, I only paid for accommodation and was never hungry or thirsty.
So in short, I had the best time ever in Blaye! If you want to really enjoy your running, consider this run because I can’t think of anything that beats this experience! A great 50th birthday celebration!
Karen

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