Photo Credit : Le Patriote Beaujolais Val de Saône
|World Athletics Label Road Race:||No|
|Distances:||42K, 21K, 42K relay, 13K|
|Type of race:||Multi-terrain, hilly|
|Time limit:||7 hours (42K), 4 hours (21K)|
Looking for a personal best? The International Marathon of Beaujolais is definitely not the event for that! But if you want a crazy event where fun and wine are mixing with a challenging, semi-trail course path, this is the event for you!
I must admit, when I signed in I did not read clearly all the info. I wanted to run an event in France, and the combination between a wine festival and running sounded intriguing. Plus, I scored my personal best at 2h 01min few weeks before: time to go below 2 hours, I thought… Never an assumption could have been wronger 😉
The location is very beautiful, near Villefranche sur Saone, less than 1 hour drive from Lyon airport, in the area and the week where the new wine Beaujolais is released.
This is a multi event, including the Marathon, Half Marathon, a marathon relay for teams and a 13k race. As said, the program is part of a festival in the week the Beaujolais is released from the local producers.
Thus, the organization set other events with the wine as main protagonist. Among them, the pasta party on the Friday before the race, the party “the night of the marathon” on Saturday, and a visit to a wine maker, with lunch included, on Sunday.
You can choose and book separately and bundle these event in your subscription package during the booking process.
The booking process
The booking process is smooth and, as mentioned before, allows to book tickets to some of the beautiful side events. The instructions are clear on the event website, where you need just few clicks to choose and book the event. In few clicks I was through having what I wanted. I booked the pasta party, and I wish I had time for the wine-maker event: check if your flight plans match with the part of the program you are interested to!
Besides the booking section, the website is clear and well structured, and you can find clearly the info you need.
Expo and organization
The BIB pick up operations went smoothly: the expo is located in the marathon village, in the Parc des Expositions of Villefranche. It is from here that the buses will leave on Saturday morning for the starting point of the Marathon in Fleurie. The procedures to pick up the material are easy: I did not find much people so there was no line.
The Pasta Party takes place in the same area. The amount of wine given by the organization for that purpose is huge: I share the spirit of the socialization but I found a bit strange seeing people drinking wine as water the night before the race.
A main downside is that only the marathon is awarded with a finishing medal! I found absolutely unfair, and also a lack of style, not to award all the finishers with a medal to bring home.
Whereas this is not the race for your personal best, it will give you a lot of fun for several reasons:
- The race is fun! Most of people get dressed with costumes. I have seen a banana, super Mario, a Jesus on the cross (hope religious are not offended), a nun, a lollipop, wizards and all kind of fictional characters running with me! It is objectively a funny show to watch.
- The course is challenging, with an elevation gain (for the 21K race) of 200 meters, mainly in the first half. More than 1/3 of it is a trail in the wine yards. With the high chances of rain in November, could be muddy. I gave a bad review at the track only for technical reasons, but you can have fun if you like the genre 🙂
- You will get water and fruit bites at the refreshments. But mostly wine, correctly paired with salami, cheese and even grilled meat bites.
- The course path develops through some wine producer properties: this creates bottlenecks, but also an unique experience.
As a finisher told me: “if you want to pick a race for your personal worst, this is the one!“. The International Marathon of Beaujolais is an event for wine and running lovers, where the social component prevails on the athletic one. If your goal is to convince your friends how running is cool, this a the place to go 😉