Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oktoberfest + Half Marathon = Oktoberun Awesomeness

Props to the local geniuses who launched the inaugural Oktoberun Half Marathon/5k, a fundraiser race that starts and ends in downtown Redwood City, CA, and kicks off the local Oktoberfest celebration. I had a great time, and easily ended the morning "calorie positive" with all the great beer and German food. Such a fun event!

(Silicon Valley embraces Oktoberfest, and why not? It's perfect pre-race hydration!)
The race was a local affair, big enough to raise some $$$ for the Redwood City Education Foundation, but not so big that we couldn't park right next to the start. The day was perfect for running, and ~300 of us eagerly chose the half marathon to take advantage of the sunny 70 degree morning. I caught up with friends Shira Shane (just back from a summer in Jordan), Warren Packard (recent born again entrepreneur), ultra star Erika Kikuchi (with me feeling the need to apologize for staring endlessly at her Web page - I dare you not to!), and super master Kermit Cuff before we were called to the line. With a raising of (empty) mugs, we were off!

(Me just ahead of John Munene, photo courtesy of my cheap ass not paying $30 for a non-watermarked digital photo)
Local Jesus Campos quickly made his way to the front, joined by John Munene and a half dozen others well under a 6 minute/mile pace. The local police routed us through downtown and over the highway to a bike path that weaved along the waterway, where Munene found a ridiculously fast gear and headed out on his own. He managed to take the correct path, while about 30 of us took a half mile detour through a parking lot...gotta look for that chalk! Warren Packard timed it just right, getting everyone else back on track as the rest of us shrugged our shoulders and said thanks for the "bonus miles." Honestly, if that's the only wrong turn in an inaugural race, they are doing a stellar job!

Campos went a bit farther off track than the rest of us, but quickly turned his frustration into a banshee blur and flew by all of us. I settled into a rhythm with Roheem Moore, an Air Force pilot finishing up a 140+ mile/week and looking great, and we traded off pacing a 6:10 min/mile groove, picking up a couple of spots along the way. I could see Kermit Cuff 30-40 seconds ahead of us as we hit a long straight bike path (mile 4) but we weren't gaining any ground yet. If I knew Kermit, he would hold his pace to the end!
(Flying on the dirt bike path)
The happy volunteers steered us onto the last out-and-back section along the Bay, where we could see Munene waaaaay out front and Campos finding no challengers for second place (or first place for the 14-miler, depending on how you look at it). We hit the turnaround, and Roheem eased up a bit to enjoy the warm breeze. Shira was looking great, well on her way to a half marathon PR despite no training in Jordan, and a smile big enough to prompt every single guy to ask her about her status.

I tried a few 30-second sprints to reel in Kermit, but each one only got me a few seconds, and I had little runway left. As we crossed the highway one last time (mile 11), I realized that 4th was my destiny and eased up to give some high fives to the beer-clad residents. Yummm...just a few more miles for some alcoholic carb replenishment!

(Let the festivities begin! Photo courtesy of Luke Mertens)
I crossed the finish line in 1:24:47 for 4th place, guessing the wrong turn had cost us about 3:30. A bit slower than last weekend, but still in range for a sub-2:50 marathon at NYC, fingers crossed. John Munene had won in a screaming 1:12:03, with Campos coming in second with a 1:21:53 (also with 3-4 bonus minutes), and 53-year-old Kermit schooling us all with a 3rd place 1:24:05. As I refreshed with beer and big German pretzels, we cheered on Women's winner Shannon Cody (1:30:27), a local school teacher at Clifford School that must have known everyone given the raucous celebration. She had plenty of hugs for everyone! (all results)

And with that, the Oktoberfest celebration began, with huge steins of beer, lots of great food, and The Internationals and Golden Gate Bavarian Club busting out authentic Oktoberfest song and dance. Thanks so much to the volunteers and race directors for bringing back a downtown half marathon, and throwing the best finish line party around. I will be back next year for sure!

- SD


  1. This really was a fun event - my wife and I did the Half and my daughter and grandkids did the 5K and everyone had a great time. (We were WAY slower though.) I was astonished at how fast you leaders were going when you passed us heading back as we were still heading out - nicely done!

  2. Sounds like a fun event. Although for a guy who usually takes his own photos (or credits others), I was surprised to see the first picture that definitely wasn't from this event. Admittedly it's a great photo to capture ocktoberfest, but come on..

  3. Sounds like you really had fun. It takes me back to my marathoning days. I would love to start running again soon. Just need to lose some weight and buy decent running shoes.

  4. That sure looks like a blast. Still my post race beverage of choice to this day.

  5. Scott -

    My camera is in the shop, so I couldn't take any originals. I believe the photo with the drinking ladies is from Campbell's Oktoberfest, although I couldn't find who to source for the photo. If you know who it is, do let me know.


  6. Sounds fun! We love trail running out here in Utah and have a small supplement company for endurance junkies...check it out for research and athlete proven products for endurance, recovery & a multi-vitamin. Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition: www.wickedfastsportsnutrition.com

    Julie Talbott

  7. Oktoberfest celebration are one of the best celebration here on our country though I consider that your celebration are far more fun. I hope someday I can join the celebration on your country.

  8. Looks like a completely blast!!!!!! So fun!


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