Photos by OHventures
When one thinks of Oktoberfest, the first things that come to mind are probably sausage, lederhosen, and stein after stein of cold, frothy "bier." The Columbus Oktoberfest is trying to add "running" to that list by incorporating a four mile (vier meiler) run known affectionately as the "Brat Trot" into the opening day of the festivities. What's best is that after the run, participants get to experience all the fun and tasty German amenities late into the evening. My friend Matt and I (pictured above) eagerly signed up for the Brat Trot, in part due to all of the great perks that came along with it!
The Columbus Oktoberfest mimics (on a much smaller scale) the original German celebration that takes place every year in Munich. Oktoberfest in Munich spans a 16-day period in late September and early October and is a vital part of Bavarian culture, existing as far back as 1810. Dozens and dozens of cities across the globe have since adopted their own celebrations (Cincinnati Oktoberfest, for instance, happens to be the third largest in the world with approximately 500,000 visitors). The 46th Annual Columbus Oktoberfest took place September 28-30, 2012 at the Ohio Expo Center (the site of the Ohio State Fair). Previously held in Schiller Park in German Village, the event changed locations in 2009 to better accommodate the growing crowd.
Coinciding with the official keg tapping, the Brat Trot kicked off Columbus Oktoberfest at 6:15 PM with coverage on the local news and a presentation of both the German and United States national anthems. The course took us on a double loop around the Ohio State Fairgrounds (course map here). While it was not the most scenic of runs, it was pretty humorous seeing folks dressed in lederhosen (like my other friend Matt, pictured above), breeches, and (oddly) chickens on their heads.
Matt and I completed the race side by side with our final time of 34:48 (or 103rd and 104th out of 500 runners. official times posted here). This was a fantastic time for the both of us (approximately 8 minute 30 second miles), especially given that we had never run together, and that we both have a history of knee problems. It felt great to complete the race in such good personal times, and great to have fun while doing it!
Following the race came the real fun, where Matt and I got to cash in all of our coupons we received for signing up to run. Not only did a portion of our registration fee go toward a great cause, Charity Newsies (whose primary goal is to clothe poor and underprivileged children), we also got some "free" goodies! Aside from the awesome technical shirt and finisher's medals, we got to scarf down on some congratulatory cream puffs and sausages from Schmidt's (pictured above), and wash it down with our choice of authentic German brewed beer!
After perusing the rest of the Oktoberfest, grabbing another bier, listening to the alpine horns (pictured below), and chatting with other friends (such as former Featured OHventurer Jason Warner), Matt and I called it a night. It was a successful Oktoberfest run and we look forward to next year!