Annie Meeten tackles Marathon du Médoc in aid of Bishop's Stortford's Citizens Advice branch
The Marathon du Médoc made Annie Meeten "utterly sick" – and she can't wait to tackle the French running and drinking challenge again.
The 42-year-old raised nearly £700 for Citizens Advice East Herts, for which she works at its office in South Street, Bishop's Stortford.
During the 26-mile race through the vineyards of the Médoc in the Gironde, which was first held in 1985, the 8,500 or so competitors have to drink 23 different French wines and sample oysters, beef, cheese and ice cream on the way round – while wearing fancy dress.
Annie said: "The marathon was hilarious and brutal. Just about everyone was in fancy dress. The theme was 'Superheroes' so I decided to go as a suffragette – a real-life superhero.
"It was one huge party with all the wine and live music. The start line had circus performers on zip wires suspended above the runners and the atmosphere was amazing.
"I remember the first half of the race, but in the second part the wine stops come pretty quick and that part is a little more blurry. The atmosphere was lively, but I did suffer a fair bit in the second half and the pace slowed considerably.
"All you can do to train is the standard marathon training plan and prepare your costume well. Overheating or chafing are the big problems when running in fancy dress, so I took a pair of scissors to my fancy dress to create much-needed ventilation and did tactical applications of Vaseline.
"As for the drinking, the eating and the heat, you just have to go with it on the day. There's plenty of water on offer, along with fruit, cake, sweets and ice cream – all of which I had – and oysters, cheese and beef – I passed on those. My running companion tried the oysters and immediately regretted.
"Some of the vineyards insisted that you drank the wine from a glass – too good to go in plastic – so you did get a break from running."
Annie has previously run the Edinburgh and Chester marathons in around four hours 45 minutes.
She said: "Previous marathon experiences just do not compare to the Médoc – it's an utterly different and surreal experience. In the Médoc you forget any notion of getting a decent time – it's all about surviving while having the most amount of fun possible."
Annie crossed the finish line in six hours 27 minutes. "The course closes after six hours 30 minutes so everyone aims to get around for six hours and 29 minutes," she said. "You still get a medal but with maximum party! And when you cross the line you get another bottle of wine. I was utterly sick afterwards and I want to do it all again."