One of my favorite fall races is the Oktoberfest Road race in Mt Angel in September. First off, being German and being picky, I love the fact that Mt Angel’s Oktoberfest is celebrated in September, on the same weekend as the original Oktoberfest opens in Munich, Germany. Secondly, by this time in September, the mornings are crisp and cool, and even if the heat of the summer made me lazy, the fall air inspires me to kick my running up a notch again.
The Oktoberfest Road Race is a long standing tradition in Mount Angel, and it is now in its 21st year. New this year is the half marathon, which adds a new loop to the 10k course and will attract medium distance runners to the festivities as well. The start/finish area is at beautiful Humpert Park, which offers a covered are in case of rain or drizzle, a playground to keep your younger spectators happy, and plenty of room to move around and warm up. Typically a few vendors have their tables set up, and you may be able to purchase past years’ Oktoberfest Run shirts for $5 each.
The half marathon starts at 8am at Humpert Park, where runners will head towards the north and follow a five mile long counter-clockwise circle on beautiful country roads. During the 6th mile, the course cuts through the town of Mt Angel, then joins the 10k course around the abbey, adding just a one block detour to bring the course to the correct distance.
The 5k and 10k courses are unchanged from prior years. Both race distances start at 9am at Humpert Park, heading south and out of town downhill on Humpert Lane. Shortly after the 1 mile marker, 5k runners turn around, head back up into town, run a circle through the neighborhood and reach the finish at Humpert Park heading south.
10k runners continue on south. When reaching Hook Lane, watch for the 10k/Half split so that you don’t inadvertently add a mile to your 10k. At the next left turn onto Downs St, the half marathoners will join the 10k course again, and both distances finish on the same path around the Mt Angel Abbey, heading back into Mt Angel on College St and re-joining the 5k course for the loop through the neighborhood towards the finish at Humpert Park.
The races are well supported: The 5k will have two water/aid stations, the 10k has four, and the half marathon six. Water and Tri-Berry Nuun is available at all stations; Gu Energy Gels are available at the half marathon aid stations 2 (mile 5) and 4 (mile 9/10k mile 2).
After the race, you can enjoy breads and fruits donated by local merchants, as well as coffee for sale from Vul Coffee Roasters. German music will be playing, and awards given to the three top finishers and ribbons to the three top finishers in 5year age groups.
Looking at the routes and the start times, it appears to be very thought out to avoid congestion but still allow people to all finish at similar times. The fastest half-marathoners will finish their first six miles before the 10k/5k ever starts, therefore won’t be held up by the group of runners and walker. Given the 3.5 hour course limit (16:00 pace) the slowest half-marathoners may see the fastest 5k runners returning, but as long as there is a clear separation between northbound and southbound runners on the few streets where there is overlap, there shouldn’t be an issue with that either. I do like the fact that the final mile is the same for all distances and that the finish line will be busy for quite some time.
Oktoberfest Road Race details:
When: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Where: Humpert Park, Mt Angel, OR
What: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon
Start time: 8am half marathon, 9am 5k/10k
Registration: Online here, or print and mail registration form
Registration cost: half – $65 (includes shirt); 5k/10k – $25 (shirt $12)
Registration closes: Online September 16th. There is no DOR registration for the half. DOR registration available for the 5k/10k starting at 7:15am.
Registration includes: chip timed race, tech event shirt (half marathon included, 5k/10k available for $12), post race food and entertainment, finisher’s pint glass, free beer in the Oktoberfest Prostgarten starting at 11am.
Packet Pickup: Thursday, September 17, 2015 and Friday, September 18, 2015; 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Oregon Garden Resort (at The Oregon Garden, 895 W. Main St, Silverton); DOR starting at 7:15am.