Marathon de Sauternes

Completed in a little under four hours; maybe 3h52m or so.


038This morning Jen, Nick, and Tom came with me to Sauternes, which is about 30 minutes drive from where we are staying, so that I could run the Sauternes marathon. Here’s a link to the marathon website. Weather foggy on the drive over, but we could see that it was going to be a sunny day once the fog disappeared. And that’s how it panned out.

The race started at 8am on a tree-lined drive outside one of the many chateaux in the area. Between then and about 12 noon I was running the beautiful course around many of the chateaux and villages in the area around Sauternes. The course was approximately a figure-eight shape, with Sauternes village and nearby Chateau Filhot at the middle of the 8.

The majority of the 500 runners were doing the ‘duo’ option – one runner does the first loop of about 23 km, and the other does the second loop of about 19 km. Towards the end, as I was fading and becoming more and more fatigued, I envied those sprightly runners with ‘DUO’ pinned to their shirts. I was pleased enough with my result, but I am tempted to call it time on marathons, and stick to halfs from now on. For me the last 10 km of a marathon is just so difficult!

At 23 km, I was pleased to see Jen, Tom, and Nick in Sauternes. Tom had been counting runners and informed me that I was in 176th place.

Tom waiting for me to reach Sauternes at the half-way point

Tom waiting for me to reach Sauternes at the half-way point



At the finish, I received my finisher’s medal and bottle of Sauternes, which we will take back to Quillan. I mentioned in a previous post my surprise that some of the drinks stations in this marathon offer Sauternes wine, as well as water etc. Today I saw that was true: several of the chateaux had a chilled bottle of their wine available for the runners. However, as far as I could see every runner was sticking to the water and sports drinks.

There were lots of drink/feed stations on this course. And just as well. It was hot out there and it would be easy to get dehydrated. All stations offered water and glucose drink (which tasted like water to me, so must have been very dilute), and many offered Coke, ginger bread, soft lollies, orange quarters, bananas, dates, sultana raisins, and other treats.

I loved the support from local people. Lots of spectators calling out ‘Allez allez allez!’ or ‘Bravo!’. Also lots of musical groups providing entertainment at some of the chateaux. There must have been hundreds of marshals out on the course, stopping traffic at every road crossing, and pointing us in the right direction. All good.

3 thoughts on “Marathon de Sauternes

  1. Grandpa

    Well done, Stephen. Congratulations on your veteran’s achievement. It must have been a very pretty course to run and full of local ambiance. We’re pleased it was such a happy experience. You will have earned that Sauternes back in Quillan!

  2. Jennifer Andrewes

    Tom and I enjoyed a good 45 minutes waiting for Stephen at the halfway mark. Tom counted runners while I chatted to the friendly marshal, who was full of interesting bits of local knowledge including that the sweet Sauternes wine was first ‘invented’ when villagers returned from war to discover untended grapes rotting on the vine. To avoid wastage, someone suggested squeezing them… ta da! Cheers.

  3. William Christie

    Well done Stephen! Finishing the race is in itself an achievement for which you can be proud! Sounds as if it was through beautiful countryside but when it gets hot it can sap the energy.


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