LEAVENWORTH — A long run is always nicer if there’s a cold beer waiting for you at the end.
Leavenworth’s annual Oktoberfest Marathon has that much going for it and more. The charity race, in both full 26 mile and 13-mile half-marathon options, takes place this Saturday, Oct. 6, for the 14th year in a row.
Ian Crossland and Ted Finegold established the event back in 2005, alongside the springtime Wenatchee Marathon, donating the entrance fees toward cancer research. Finegold himself died of cancer in 2010, and the marathon’s organizing group, TedDriven, is named in his honor.
“We thought the Wenatchee Valley really should have some world class athletic events,” says Crossland, who now lives in Park City, Utah. “So from the beginning, we’ve tried to set that bar and bring in great runners and have it try to be a mixture of community celebration, world class event, and also raising money for a good cause.”
About 1,700 to 1,800 runners participate each year, from multiple U.S. states and from other countries as well.
The races kick off at 7 a.m. Saturday from the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, and they wind through some spectacular scenery, from valley foothills to riverside nature trails. When they’re done, racers can enjoy the sights, sounds and suds of the city’s yearly Oktoberfest celebration, which goes on downtown for three weekends.
"I think Leavenworth lends itself to being a nice destination run, and coupled with the Oktoberfest celebration makes it a little more interesting,” Crossland says. “And also our course is a little unique in its natural beauty."
Crossland, an athlete himself, says being in charge of the marathon means he can’t spare the time to compete in it.
“I’ve never run one of our events, just because of the logistical challengers of that. I’d like to get the races running smoothly enough where we organizers could actually participate.”
Registration online closes Thursday, but runners can register in person Friday or the day of the race.
Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013