What better way to help two people celebrate their 50th birthday than to run (and I use that term very loosely!), a half marathon with a difference.
Clive Prior and Rebecca Baxter both had their special birthday this year. They were joined by Neil and Jen Lovesey, Helen Woolley, Caroline Devine, Mourad Ben-Taieb, Lawrence Folley, Shane Fereday and Mark Tinkler to take part in the Bacchus Half marathon on Sunday 11th September. This is more of an event than a race. Most of the participants were in fancy dress, from flamingos to Mexicans, along with people dressed as nuns, police officers, nurses and doctors, fairies, bunches of grapes, waiters (complete with drinks trays), and us, thanks to Clive, in our specially commissioned t-shirts,
Nine of us had stayed the previous night glamping nearby, with one opting for the hotel option and therefore missing out on foxes making a din in the middle of the night. We fuelled the previous evenings on Baileys hot chocolate, Prosecco, toffee vodka, beer, cake and BBQ and pasta and enjoyed Mark’s porridge on race morning.
A short drive and we were at Denbies Wine estate. The music was already booming out and it was quite a party atmosphere. The full marathoners set off at 10.00am and we were off 30 minutes later. We had a plan to start together, finish together and, as far as possible, run together. This did prove difficult at times as some of the trails were narrow and some people were walking from the outset.
Now this race doesn’t have water stops, it has wine stops. Seven stops, one of which was ‘dry’ i.e. just soft drinks and food. The rest had samples of wine, plus water, crisps, jelly beans, jaffa cakes, pretzels and sweetie bags. There was also a band at each stop varying from bell ringers to drummers. Basically, each stop was a party in its own right.
The route is nothing short of spectacular. The views when you get to the top of the North Downs is beautiful. It’s quite a climb up there but well worth it. The last wine stop was red wine along with cheese and biscuits.
The final mile is a fast downhill so Clive pushed us to a fast finish. We joined hands and just about managed to squeeze over the line together in 2 hours 46 minutes, which includes all the wine stops. Then it was medal, t shirt and free coffee, cake and huge chunks of pineapple or melon. We also had drinks and food vouchers so this was followed by hog roast (or veggie option) and beer/wine/water.
This is a great team event with fantastic camaraderie from everyone. We might be back next year…