I ran the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest 10k last fall and loved everything about it so I returned this year just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. I once again fell in love with Mt. Angel, their Oktoberfest, and this 10k.
The half marathoners took off at 8 AM and everyone else at 9 AM. I arrived with my friends around 8:15 and parking was a breeze. There was basically no line for packet pickup and we stood around waiting for the start with plenty of time to spare (for some, this time was surely needed, as the porta-potty line quickly got out of hand). There was music, course maps to study, and general pre-race mingling. The perfect casual vibe.
Eventually we lined up, finding our place in the pack. The 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 minute mile pacing placards were strangely close together so it was hard to know where to be. It seemed everyone just squished in and we could sort ourselves out down the road. It was a total non-issue, but we giggled about it up front.
The run starts with a little uphill and then a longer, cruise-y downhill before flattening out. A high school band serenaded us at the bottom of the hill, along with a water station and the eventual 5k turnaround. Some wonderful volunteers at a busy junction made us all laugh with their direction signs (“Sexy ones to the left! All others to the right!”) and we made our way out to the country roads.
This section of the the course was flat and scenic. The road curved left and then back to the right and it was often confusing which side of the road we were supposed to be running on, as some runners cut the corners and others were running against traffic (some signage here would help), but the cars were few and far between. At the 5k point, the only “major” hill starts (gains 40 feet in 1/2 mile) and then it is nice and rolling next to pumpkin patches and pastures of sheep. Eventually you’re back in town, weaving the cute residential streets and head back to the finish line.
After the race, my friends and I wandered over to the food and drinks for some local apples, banana slices, and granola bars. A booth with some tablets was set up to get your results instantly and my friend came in 2nd in her age group and my last ditch effort at a sprint finish got me 3rd in my age group! We each got a ribbon, which was a highlight!
We made a pit stop at the car to change clothes and headed over to the rest of the festival (and to get our pint glasses and free beers!). The line for the beer garden was maybe 5-7 minutes long and once inside, we had 6 or so beers to choose from. With our glasses filled and our bellies emptied, I snuck out to get some sausages and we feasted with the other runners. By the time we left the beer garden, the line had grown substantially. If you didn’t want a beer (some of us don’t – it was only 10:30 in the morning!), you could cut the line and just grab the glass without entering the garden. Otherwise, it was a wait much like the porta-potty line!
We wandered around the rest of the festival, checked out the 3 blocks of vendors, saw some dancing, ate some ice cream near the glockenspiel, and hit up the petting zoo on our way out! I love this event – it’s always perfect weather (editor’s note – except for the year where it rained from start to finish), a great course, and the post-race activities make it a fun way to spend the whole day in Mt. Angel!