This was the 29th Marathon du Medoc, and we had a great Château Pichon-Longueville team this year.
This annual event is one of my favourite moments of the year, a chance to celebrate the idea that an enthusiasm for wine is not only compatible with, but part of a healthy and balanced life. The thousands of fit and happy runners who participate every year, enjoying judicious sips of wine at regular stops at the chateaux along the route are joyous proof that the puritans have got it all wrong.
Château Pichon-Longueville was at Kilometre 18 this year and we were besieged by enthusiastic wine tasters. As usual we offered the 9,000 runners a taste of wine (Les Tourelles de Longueville 2011) in proper wine glasses.
This operation is quite a logistical challenge and fortunately we have an enthusiastic group of benevolent volunteers who man the tables each year, happy to participate in the generally euphoric and celebratory atmosphere of the day.
We had some distinguished runners this year in the Château Pichon-Longueville team, notably Victoria Moore and Jamie Goode, who was running his first marathon, and whose coverage of the event can be seen on this link: video Jamie Goode.
I ran with Jamie and with Port lover and expert Axel Probst, who is an ex Luftwaffe pilot and living proof that regular consumption of Vintage Port is perfectly compatible with being terrifyingly fit.
We stopped at most of the chateaux to verify the quality of their offerings, purely for professional reasons, and had a great morning. It should be admitted here that I only ran the half marathon, having decided a few years ago that the first half was rather more fun than the second. Of course I have my duties as host at Château Pichon-Longueville to attend to also, so it would be quite irresponsible to run the whole way. But I am full of admiration for all the runners who finished and who proved by their presence and by their performance that an enthusiastic enjoyment of great wine is perfectly compatible with a condition of perfect physical fitness.