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Petit Médoc Community Run: 1100 runners take over the vineyards in Dollendorf

Petit Médoc Community Run : 1100 runners take over the vineyards in Dollendorf

Music, wine, yummy food and in between, a relaxed run through the vineyards: 1100 runners in fancy dress started the Petit Médoc run through the vineyards in Oberdollendorf, including GA reporter Matthias Beckonert.

The Petit Médoc must be a strange sight for people who do not know about the mixture of running race, carnival, wine tasting and live music. The community run is modelled on the “Marathon du Médoc,” which runs for 42 kilometres through the vineyards of Bordeaux.

Luckily, in Oberdollendorf the main race is only eleven kilometres, but local wines are available at the refreshment stands as well as costumed runners on the course. The route leads up through the Mühlen valley to the Dollendorfer Hardt and back down through the vineyards to the start. One lap is 3.75 kilometres and there are three laps in the main run.

So I am standing dressed up with around 650 other runners at the start and am waiting for host Hermann Ulrich from SSG Königswinter to send us on our way with an “Allez!” At the start, the clock on my mobile phone says 2pm exactly and a small 29 next to it shows the temperature – in the shade. After a slight incline, we runners near the end of the first stage. This is about 500 metres after the start line and luring us with shade – and with water and wine.

Garden hoses as sprinklers

Residents are almost as involved in the race as the participants. With their garden hoses spraying water, they provide a welcome cooling off before the ascent, which starts straight after the first stop. At the next stand there is honey bread and honey wine from the Siebengebirge Beekeepers’ Association and music from “Hein mit Akkordeon.”

A highlight on the route. And onwards. The asphalt under my feet becomes a shady woodland path, which stretches picturesquely high into the vineyards, where the next food station is waiting. The Petit Médoc is more of an interval race than an endurance race– you work your way from station to station. I now use the hill’s noticeable incline to pick up speed and so am able to overtake and inspect a whole series of costumes.

Reaching the top, I see the group that will later win the costume competition: each of them has a distinguishing papier-mâché mountain from the Siebengebirge on his head.

Petit Médoc in Oberdollendorf

Next I get myself some water, have a glass of wine pressed into my hand and queue in the blazing sun for a curry sausage. The view over the vineyards to Oberdollendorf and Bonn is phenomenally beautiful, the wine tastes good and there is Carnival music playing from a speaker. This sort of running competition isn’t so bad, I think. Fortified, we continue to the next stands. Besides drinks, there are also sandwiches or wraps.

Of course, I take one and so have almost completed my first three kilometres. Almost – for at the last stand of the first lap, the rockband “Gnadenlos” is playing. The music is so much fun, I stay for another three songs.

I take the second lap more quietly and on the third, walk more than run. As I reach the finish, I don’t care at all about my time.

The Petit Médoc is about more than running. It is a festival with a sporting element and so the event continues after the finishing line. At Weingut Sülz there is food and drink and the mood is boisterous.

After eleven kilometres and three times six stands in the heat, I’m somewhat tired but in a great mood. With the glass and bottle of wine that every participant who dresses up receives, I settle myself in front of the stage and listen to “Marion & Sobo” play French songs. I put a reminder in my calendar for May 2019 so that I don’t miss the registration for next year.

(Original text: Matthias Beckonert / Translation: kc)