This week, in true French style, we can offer you a half-marathon run through the Champagne valley ... and wait for it, the drink stations on the course will actually serve up champers, the real stuff.
Interested? Thought so. This run with a difference, in the north-east of France, meanders through vineyards and villages and even a wine cellar. So, guess what the winner gets? Their own weight in champagne – it sure is a new meaning for 'fun run' ... n'est-ce pas?
The 21st Champenoise of the Marne Valley takes place next month on Saturday, May 17. This doesn't give you too much time to organise travel, accommodation and fitness, but in terms of the latter, well, you can walk or slightly stagger under the influence around the course.
The start is in Rueil – you then are offered a choice, a run timed with a ranking but without champers tasting (for the serious runners) and the other without minimum speed and without ranking.
The participants are expected to join into the fun of the run and must dress up in an original way. There is a parade of all the participants before the 'off' at 3pm.
Then the individual 21.5k timed race starts before the second 'fun and games run' gets under way. So, everybody can participate, from serious athlete to casual walker.
And, if you opt to just be a spectator, you're included in the Champenoise, too, as the organisers suck in those who stand and serve as part of their drink 'tasting' and music-making occasion.
You can find all the details on the website of the Champenoise of the Marne Valley. As they claim – this is more than a race, it's an atmosphere.
How to get there
You could land- bridge it, from Dublin to Liverpool and drive south to Dover – crossing to Coquelles via the Channel Tunnel if you'd like a drive of more than 1,000k. Or you could fly to Paris from Ireland and head east in a rented car.
There are plenty of B&Bs in the region and small family-run hotels, so drive a little around the area to get the best value or, better still, go online and have the job done before setting out.
Well, the chance to exercise and drink bubbly at the same time has its own, unique attraction.
It might take a bit of effort to get there as there is only a month to go.
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