The lowdown: marathon season

By Georgia Bronte contact

- Last updated on GMT

The lowdown: marathon season
As marathon season gets under way, the restaurant industry is gearing up for its annual cardio workout.

Marathons? And restaurants? In the same sentence?
Don’t be so surprised. A lot of top-name chefs are surprisingly into their fitness, and as the weather starts to brighten up they ditch their chef whites for lycra and Nikes.

Like who?
Gordon Ramsay, for one. The chef has raced in 15 marathons, three ultra marathons, three half-ironmans (which are triathlons ending with a half marathon) and the world’s toughest Ironman competition in Hawaii. Then there’s Michel Roux Jr. He’s run at least 20 of them, and with times averaging around 3 hours 20 minutes, he’s pretty quick, too. He says that he works at Le Gavroche from 7.30am until midnight most days, and wouldn’t be able to get through it alive if he was a “fat slob”.

What’s his secret?
Well, he has written a book on the topic, but it generally involves cutting back on fatty foods and booze.

So booze and marathons don’t mix? You don’t say…
That’s not exactly what we said. Could you imagine a 26.2 mile run, which includes 23 glasses of wine en route, alongside oysters, cheese, and foie gras?

Er, no. That sounds like a recipe for a pavement pizza.
Try telling that to the French. Their annual Marathon du Medoc takes place in the south of France, when 30 chateaux open their grounds to hordes of drunk, sweaty joggers in fancy dress, taking as long as possible to finish to take full advantage of the refreshments on offer (the time limit is a generous six-and-a-half-hours).

Sounds like a night out in Manchester.
It is actually surprisingly glamorous. Not only has it been going for 30 years, it has food and wine from the region’s best suppliers and more medical support than any other marathon in the world. And Fred Sirieix has run it, along with others from the Galvin at Windows team, so there’s something a little chic about the whole affair.

I’m guessing there aren’t any artisan cheeses or escargots on offer for the London marathon this Sunday?
Not as such, but if you do run it (and can prove it by bringing your medal) then a few restaurants will give you a freebie, including plates of pasta at Pastaio and martinis at Sophie’s Soho. Sticking to rewarding cardio with booze, Bao is giving runners Taiwanese beers and Bone Daddies is offering yuzu margaritas. It’s almost enough to make you want to actually buy some running shoes.

Almost… but we’re not broke enough to run 26.2 miles for a margarita just yet.
If you want to feel good, but not get shin splints, then charity Galvin’s Chance is putting on its annual run around Hyde Park on 28 May. It’s a cool 5k, passing the Serpentine Lake and finishing with a sprint up the 28 flights to the Michelin-starred restaurant. The entry fee of £20 includes a champagne breakfast, medal and runner’s vest.

You had me at champagne.
That’s the running spirit.  

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