Today was the Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K in Bethlehem, PA. For those who live on the east coast you probably know Yuengling beer. It is known as America’s oldest brewery. And this year was their first ever Oktoberfest 5K.
First the packet pick up: I did not pick up the packet the day before, instead I chose day of. I picked my bib up about 20 minutes before the race. I’ve run tons of 5K’s before and picking up that close to the race is usually never an issue. This time it was a simple pick up, got my bib and pre race swag (mug and shirts). However they ran out of pins. Not a major issue, but annoying none the less. The pre race swag was nice. They gave away a beer stein and tech shirt.
Race start: The start of the race was tough. They really had no separation between the spectators and the runners. So it felt like a lot of the spectators were standing in the same line as runners waiting to go. There were 4,500 people running so you can imagine the cluster this caused.
Course: The course was good. The area it was held in is very hilly so it was expected to be that way on the course. The roads were pretty open and for 4,500 people running it never really felt too crowded. There was also an area where runners passed each other so it was fun to cheer on the sub 20 minute runners. The location was also in an area that used to be a steel mining area and the buildings are all still there. So it was cool to see all of the old buildings as you ran by.
Post race: The biggest marketing push from this run was the free 2 beers after the run. It was Oktoberfest after all. And the beers were difficult to get to. I get it. I’ve run a lot of races with beer after and you always wait in a line. But in this case they really only had one tent to hand out beer. Obviously not all 4,500 people got beer, but still a good amount did. Some people after complained of an hour and half wait. Others complained about them running out. I cut the line so I got there no issue (oops!). But I did wait a while. I wasn’t as bothered by this because beer is just a cherry on the top. So it is what it is. However this race made a big marketing push on this so they should have been better prepared. My main issue post race was getting water. No one was handing it out at the end of the race. You had to walk about 50 yards to a tent and stand in line for about 20 minutes to get some. Water is needed after a run. This was very poorly handled.
All and all the race was fun. I like a good Oktoberfest as well as running. So I did enjoy myself. However I also feel like the people who planned this run could have done a lot better. No one is perfect and I understand that, however there were some basic things (no pins, difficulty getting water) that should have gone off with no issue. Also this was a 5K that cost $55. Nothing about this race justified it being that expensive. I guess you could say the stein (pictured below) and free beer. But the beer was limited and the stein was smaller for a usual Oktoberfest mug, so I don’t see it. Saying all that, I would not run this race again.
Overall Grade: C