Bouncing Soles Running Blog – Covering races and events in the Philadelphia area

16Dec/103

Oktober Lauf Fest – Half Marathon Trail Run

I had my first major accomplishment this year, besides breaking my PR for the 5K, I finished 3rd overall in a race. That race was the Oktober Lauf Fest at Pennypack park. I had signed up for the Oktober Lauf Fest, mostly because I thought this race would be similar to the Sloppy Cuckoo which I had a great time running. See I've been on the hunt for as many trail runs as I can find in the Philadelphia area. Trail running has become my new love interest. The sloppy cuckoo was 11 miles trail and 2 miles paved bike path. I was expecting the Oktober Lauf Fest to be a similar type of race, it's my fault for not reading the course description well enough. Regardless, this ended up being without a doubt the most unique race/run experience I have had to date.

I started off changing my normal plan of attack, instead of trying to sprint ahead of the pack. I let a large herd of people get in front of me, physiologically the feeling of passing people is better then getting passed. Going out slower helped me not get overly excited and I ended up pacing myself properly. The course ended up mostly being run on cinder/loose gravel, but it was a relatively flat course. I was able to catch up to the majority of people in front of me.  Passing several groups I finally ended up running with two guys for the majority of the race (Paul Peters and Chris Roberts) . I had headphones on so I didn't talk to them, not like I would be able to hold much of a conversation running a 6:20 - 6:30 pace. So around the 7 mile mark I pulled off my headphones and asked "Do you know how many people are ahead of us"? There response was "two - and one of them is a girl".  It was at this point that a new motivation swept over me, realizing that I was fighting for 3rd place overall. I knew at this point I had to do everything I could to hold this position. I stayed directly behind one of the two guys, pacing him as best as I could and just conserving my energy. Having never been in a situation like this I didn't know what to do, at what point should I make a break for it. My legs felt good, I wasn't short of breath and didn't feel like I was giving it everything. I had to make a decision as to what would be the best time to actually push it. Keeping a careful eye on my Garmin GPS watch, I could see we were closing in on the finish. I started to run directly next to the person I was pacing (Paul Peters).  Then with a mile a half left I started to push ahead to see if he would keep the pace. I started to maintain a slight lead. It was when I had only a quarter of a mile left I turned to an all out sprint. I took 3rd place overall, and 2nd place male.

This is why I like the smaller local races, not only are they cheaper, but they provide a different level of excitement over the larger races. They also provide better food and have a more personal feel.  Yes, I know, it's not that large of a race and that's why you did so well. Regardless there was still 164 people, and I still ended up running a 1:26:34 for a half marathon. I will never forget this race. A big thank you to the race director and everyone who helped put this race together.

The prize for 3rd place overall was a German cuckoo clock.

Please check out more of their races at http://www.uberendurancesports.com/

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Congrats on your 3rd place finish! Came across your blog looking for recaps of last year’s Sloppy Cuckoo, which I want to register for. What were the differences between the Sloppy Cuckoo and the Lauf Fest?

    • There was a huge difference. Sloppy cuckoo is run mostly on rolling single track/trail and only a small amount of asphalt. There was a large amount of hills, more then I was expecting (425 ft of climbing). Oktober Lauf Fest had half the amount of hills (234ft) and was run mostly on asphalt and the flat cinder path that runs next to the river. Sloppy was more of a trail race, so make sure you practice running trails beforehand.

  2. Thanks so much for the quick response. I’m already signed up for the Philly RnR half the week before, so if I did the Sloppy Cuckoo it would be just for fun – and the finisher’s whistle! 🙂 I’ve done some running in Sourland Mountain Preserve (NJ), I run on dirt/gravel in parks, and have some small hills in my normal running routes. I’ll have to think about which one to sign up for!


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