Runners tackle Moldova wine cellar 10k race

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

Image source, Jurnal TV
Image caption,
Organisers say runners from Brazil, the US and Finland signed up

Runners in Moldova have taken part in a 10k race around one of the country's largest wine cellars.

About 200 people limbered up for the underground Wine Run event in the town of Cricova, the Pro TV channel reports. Participants wore head torches to help them navigate the darker sections of the tunnels, but even the winner found the conditions tricky. "It took me 30 minutes. It was very difficult because of high humidity," Liviu Croitor tells the channel. "I ran 500m more than I should have because I got lost, it was dark."

While some participants found being 100m underground disorientating, for others the lack of fresh air was a challenge. "You could smell the wine," one runner tells Jurnal TV. "This makes the things a little bit more complicated - it is more difficult to breathe."

Appropriately, all the participants received a glass of mulled wine at the end. But if that wasn't enough of an incentive to reach the finish line, organisers also deployed a person dressed as the Grim Reaper - complete with scythe - to "hunt" participants around the tunnels.

Those taking part only saw a fraction of the tunnels, which cover about 120km (75 miles) in total and are described as an "underground city" by the Wine Run organisers. They were excavated in order to build Moldova's capital, Chisinau, which lies 15km south of the town, and now hold more than a million bottles of wine.

Image source, Pro TV Chisineau
Image caption,
Runners also had to contend with haunted house sound effects blaring from speakers

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