17 of us were at the start dressed as Princess Leia and I was interviewed on live TV which was funny. The atmosphere as ever was incredible, with 99% of people dressed up - the theme being sci fi. Men In Black were mingling with cavemen and aliens. Hilarious.
We managed to get very near the front this year with some meticulous forward planning, so crossed the line a mere couple of minutes after the gun had gone off. Mrs R and I were running together, and as instructed we started very easy. I had strapped up my problem ankle and knee (accumulated injuries from the UTMB) and was feeling ok, although my feet were/are still a bit sore.
We were averaging about 6mins 45 per km, which I thought was a nice easy pace if a little fast, and tried to reign Mrs R in, but she seemed content to go at her pace. It took me a few km to properly loosen up, but the scenery and atmosphere was fabulous. I laughed out loud to myself when a couple of aliens passed us. They were discussing the terroir of the area and the granularoty of the soil and aspect of the slope and what effect it had on the taste of the wine.
Of course, as we ran through these amazing chateaux, there was the opportunity to taste the wine, and I has a little sip at every opportunity, but also making sure that I drank water and where on offer coke. I had coached Mrs R in the technique of running through aid stations as efficiently as possible, so she carried on and I got her everything she needed and caught her up.
As the race progressed, more and more people seemed to stop at the aid stations dancing to the bands. I enjoyed seeing a group of 8 ghostbusting girls zumba-ing to a band at one stop!
Occasionally the wine would even be served in glass glasses - then you know it was a good one, and we managed to get to Lafitte Rothschild at 26km before they ran out which was ambition #1. It was lovely, and the chateau itself was amazing - they had parked classic cars and bikes on the lawn in front of the house too.
From about 28 or 29km Mrs R started to struggle. She'd had a tight hamstring from Lafitte Rothschild and we'd stop and stretch from time to time, but at 29k we started to introduce little walking breaks, and walk uphill. We kept moving forwards though! My feet (soles) were getting sore and my ankles too were twitching, so the walking helped me too.
At around 34k we ran through Phelan Segur - my favourite wine to be honest, so I stopped for a little chat with the head vintner whilst Mrs R ploughed on through, and then I caught her up again.
At 38k there was a little glass of champagne on offer - we were walking quite a bit but eschewed the massage tables at every aid station - I just persuaded Mrs R to carry on as we could stop at the end! We didn't queue for the champagne, and ran through the oyster aid station too as neither of us are keen on oysters. At 40km they offered little pieces of steak, so I had a couple of pieces - they were deeelish! Then we ploughed on, alongside the Gironde river, surrounded by little green men. At 41k we each had a little ice lolly on a stick,which we took as we were moving. And then we pretty much crossed the line, hand in hand, and thrilled to bits. Mrs R proudly dsplayed her medal and still has it on. I actually gave mine to another of our party who completed the course just outside the time limit and didn't therefore get one. I might ask the organisers if I could get another sent to me, for the trophy cabinet, but I have plenty anyway.
As I said, the whole thing was a blast - I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am pleased my body recovered enough so that I could enjoy it. Although I am looking forward to a bit of a rest!