(CNN) -

I'd already run about half the marathon when the next refreshment table came into view.

Thirsty and needing to stay charged for the next 13 miles, I elbowed my way through the crowds of runners and grabbed my drink of choice.

A nice glass of full-bodied red wine.

This is how it rolls at the Marathon du Medoc, an annual festival of wine and running near Bordeaux, France, in which competitors strive to complete 26 miles and almost as many glasses of the local vin.

Now in its 30th edition, the race is something of a legend for marathon runners.

Last year I was among 3,300 runners from 53 different nations -- Japan, Canada, Australia -- joining 5,200 competitors from across France.

Sure, there are prestige races in London, New York, and Chicago, but the gustatory element is lacking. Even the Paris marathon fails to offer much more than bananas and water.

Instead, this marathon weaves through scenic vineyards in the Medoc region, starting in the town of Paulliac, where some of the best Bordeaux wines are produced.

The run has a time limit of six hours and 30 minutes and is nicknamed "the longest marathon in the world" with little exaggeration.

In 2013, only about 1,100 runners finished under four hours and thirty minutes -- the other 7,400 were in no rush, if they finished at all.

Hairy body suits

To compare, the 2013 Paris marathon had an average speed of four hours and 10 minutes.

As if it's not enough that we're all drinking, the marathon is themed each year, with nearly every participant dressed in costumes.

Last year's theme, "sci-fi," saw runners dressed as aliens, "Avatar" characters and a few daring Chewbaccas in full hairy body suits.

For this year's race on September 13, 2014, 10,000 competitors are expected to dress to the theme of "Carnival around the world."

Increasingly popular, places are hard to come by and many entrants race it competitively to win prizes of -- yep -- wine.

While the Medoc hasn't resorted to operating the lottery entry systems recently adopted by the Chicago and Paris marathons, competitors now face an online scramble to sign up during several registration waves scheduled by organizers.

With more runners than ever expected, locals in Paulliac are getting ready for the 2014 event.

Organizers, too, are bracing themselves, preparing more medical care and water stops than typical marathon events to help runners through the stresses and strains of long-distance drinking.

Competitors, meanwhile, are likely putting in last-minute training -- early morning runs and extended evenings at their local bars.

Polish national Hanna Gierzynska-Zalewska, a Medoc Marathon connoisseur, will run it for the third time this year.

"There are people from all over the globe running this marathon but somehow at that race we all speak the same language," she says, "and it's not only the wine talking."

Marathoner Tarun Kumar, 42 years old from Mumbai, is hoping the race will bring the fun back to running, but is hesitant about the unique refreshments.

"Wine, food along the course would be hard to resist and I have no idea how my body will react," he says.

Dance break