To find a half-marathon road race to complete my Barcelona Marathon preparation, I had to venture out of my normal area and into David Sutcliffe's patch in the Languedoc wine region near Béziers for the Semi-marathon de Maraussan.
As I drove in bright sunshine to the start, I decided it was definitely a shorts-and-singlet day so I was quite surprised to see many runners preparing to run in long sleeves and leggings. However, I guess the locals are used to the Mistral wind and this was to be my first running encounter with it so I quickly added a layer and a pair of thin gloves and was glad that I did so.
The profile of the course was not dissimilar to the Harriers Half but the surfaces were much worse. Some would not have been out of place in a trail race. I suppose that technically most of the roads may have been surfaced at one time but it could have been by Napolean with neglect ever since.
Consequently, with the very strong wind, rough surfaces and hills, I was well-pleased with my 1-27-20 for 16th place overall but a little surprised to find myself only placed 3rd geriatric (V3H). However, even this position won me a cup and bottle of wine to add to the bottle given to each participant at the start. Perhaps it is the wine of the region which explains the local concentration of speedy vets.
I should get a chance to test this theory because I was also awarded 3 bottles (and another cup) because as a Bedfood (sic) Harrier I was classed as the runner from the greatest distance!
The excellent post-race meal was as enjoyable as ever and went on for some 3 hours. This was probably not the best possible marathon preparation - but it was great fun
Race Results :