Some people party like there’s no tomorrow, some people go all out at a mega-swish dining experience and some, well a few, decide to run a marathon…on their birthday. But not just any 26.2-mile race, a marathon that includes two laps and 12 shots of very decent English wine. So, with little training and even less of a goal except to finish after “shots of wines”, I took on the task that is the Bacchus Marathon 2017 to celebrate my coming of age.
Why it’s the perfect party race
And I wasn’t the only one there to party. With people dressed up as Romans, cricketers and goodness-know-what- else, the Bacchus Marathon which takes place on Denbies Vineyard, Dorking, Surrey, is not to be taken seriously. If you are there to run your PB, then you’ll miss out on all the merriment. Which would be a damn shame. From trying to keep up with the toga crowd to sampling some of the vineyard’s finest, plus parties at many of the six checkpoints, it really is a blast around the 26.2-mile course. You could always choose the 13.2-mile course instead. This one is definitely not about how fast you go, it’s about how you get there. For me, this meant finishing with a smile on my face.
With beautiful scenery
Who knew that such beautiful sights are available just an hour (or longer if there are railworks) from London. Situated not far from Box Hill, the scenery becomes spectacular as you climb those hills. Yes, the trail is a wee bit hilly but totally worth it for the views. Even when the rain decided to fall lightly and the mist fell over the valley, it was still a beautiful sight of England. When you’re a Londoner and looking to escape, the fresh air and greenery of this race makes it worth the 6am wake-up time.
And an after party
OK, this isn’t strictly true. But life is what you make it and with a free hog roast (or vegan burger in my case), free glass of wine and 20% off produce (wine) in the shop, you could pretty much have a decent bash there. Forget the medal or the old adage that English wine is the less experienced of the grape family. The stuff we had, and subsequently bought, is a pretty strong rival to some of our South African or Chilean favourites. We happily stocked up with more than we bargained for and head back home to continue our little birthday celebration.
Not just for birthdays
It doesn’t have to be your birthday to run Bacchus. In fact, just grab a few running friends, decide on a theme and rock up to party on race day. Be careful though with your theme, someone at this year’s race ended up as Slimer from Ghostbusters, which isn’t the easiest of costumes to lug about 13.2 or 26.2 miles course.
To find out more about next year’s race and Denbies wine estate, go to: www.denbies.co.uk/events/denbiesbacchus/