This was my second year running the Cambridge 5k Oktoberfest race in Kendall Square, Cambridge. I really enjoy the Cambridge 5k series for a number of reasons: Really fun atmosphere, great soft t-shirts that make perfect sleepwear, generous post-race beer pours, and a very local feel, with area businesses well-represented.
This year’s Oktoberfest was at a new location from previous years; the change afforded a bigger post-race celebration area, so I am all for it. According to the official race results, there were about 2000 runners, but I would have guessed more based on the size of the crowds before and after the race.
Race morning was the coolest one yet this fall, so I struggled deciding what to wear. I settled on a thin long-sleeved running shirt, but wore a fleece over it to bike to and from the race. I try not to use bag check if I can help it, but it was too chilly not to have something warm. I ended up being happy with my choice of clothing; I never got too hot running, and I was mentally lording it over the shivering folks in tanks and shorts.
All of the Cambridge 5k races lend themselves to costumed runners, which makes for great people-watching. In addition to lots of women in dirndls and men in lederhosen, you also see some interesting folks. Some of the ones I didn’t get pictures of include a guy in a full Scooby Doo costume with character head, and a woman dressed like a goat herder with stuffed animals chained to her.
I also wore a costume: modern German adult who dresses like a normal person. Heh.
The race course is pretty flat and has very few turns, which is great. I realized right away that my legs were tired and I was not going to be turning in my fastest performance. The nice thing about that realization is that it took the pressure off and let me enjoy myself a little more. I did some people-watching and sightseeing and basically let myself have a pleasant run.
One thing that was super-annoying was that on Cambridge Street, at an intersection that was not policed, a driver decided he was going to take a left through the race. Obviously this was very dangerous and really pissed people off. Runners were yelling at the driver and slapping his trunk as he literally drove through a thick crowd of people. It really made me wish there were a traffic officer conveniently placed on the other side of the crowd to administer a huge ticket (and public shaming), but alas.
I finished the race in 27:37, which is where my slow 5ks fall these days. I’m still pretty happy with it, since a Saturday long run means I don’t have fresh Sunday legs.
The afterparty was ginormous, and included my second favorite pumpkin beer, the Great Pumpkin Ale by Cambridge Brewing Company (first favorite is Southern Tier Pumpking). There were also really excellent soft pretzels by Swissbakers. Unfortunately, I didn’t stick around too long, because the combination of a now-sweaty base layer and a crisp fall breeze made for one very chilly girl. I had my one post-race celebration beer, one (ok, two) soft pretzels, and skedaddled. I think next year I’ll bring an actual change of clothes in my checked bag so I can be warm and stay out longer.
Bis zum nächsten Jahr, Cambridge5k!