The Maraisthon, which began in 2010, is the world’s only ecologically environmentally-friendly race – or so I am told by Alec Day, a participant. I don’t doubt him to be honest as he is something of an expert, having run in 206 marathons over a 23-year running career. Flying over from Auckland, New Zealand, he chose the Maraisthon partly as it took place on his birthday – 19th June 2011 – and partly for its its green credentials.
The Maraisthon is a standard 42 km (26.2 mile) race which takes place in Coulon in the Marais Poitevin area of Poitou-Charentes – an area which is often thought to be the most eco-friendly of any region in France. The care and attention to eco-principles is considerable – all the technical structural materials and sporting supports were bio-degradable or recyclable – all the food and gifts given as prizes were sourced from natural or organic products from the region. Even logistically, all the transport for the volunteers and organisers had to work on a zero-pollution basis. The exhibitors had to demonstrate their “greenness” before being invited into the fold.
What astounds me however is that after the 2010 event, there were only three pieces of rubbish collected – just three pieces – not bad considering a crowd (including runners) or a couple of thousand people. I couldn’t spot a single piece of litter this year no matter how hard I tried.
And what do you win if, like Patrice Bruel from Jegun, Midi-Pyrénées you come first in a time of just 2hrs 47 – his seventh marathon in just ten weeks? Well, you are awarded a soap “necklace” of ass’s milk and an angelica plant. Of course.
Where did Alec come, you might ask – in the crowd of 485 people who took part? Well, around the middle I think in a respectable time of 4 hrs 12 mins. He still looked remarkably fresh and is already planning his next marathon adventure, God bless him.
Contributer: Sue Lowry in conversation with Gillian Green.
Poitou-Charentes is a client of Magellan PR.