Runners came out to the Annex Park on Sunday morning for a half marathon run through the fall leaves.

Runners came out to the Annex Park on Sunday morning for a half marathon run through the fall leaves.

Half Marathon celebrates with Oktoberfest theme

Runners came out on October 5 to enjoy the 14th Annual Fernie Half Marathon.

Runners came out on October 5 to enjoy the 14th Annual Fernie Half Marathon.

The start and end of the race was marked for the Annex Park, putting the Fernie’s trail system to full use on its 21 km course. The classic run winded along the Elk River, to the base of Mount Fernie, through David White Park and onto the finish.

There were 408 registered runners who came out to enjoy the crisp fall day, a slight increase from last year’s registration numbers.

Run by the Fernie Academy, what made this race unique was the inclusion of the Fernie Academy students.

“The students and the families are on the route, cheering on the runners and handing out water,” organizer Wendy Howse said during the race.

The Fernie Academy students also made this year’s awards for the top runners. The Grade Six boys from the Fernie Academy even won one of their own trophies after winning first in the male relay team.

This year, the race also incorporated bratwurst and beers as part of an Oktoberfest celebration.

“With our Oktoberfest theme we’re using, one of the water stations by the Bridge Bistro has German singing and some of the students have learned polka dance so they’ll be dancing in costume,” said Howse.

The race was also kick started by some traditional yodeling, which continued on throughout the day, as a professional yodeler and accordion player provided music for the event.

Next year, they hope to go even bigger with that theme by including sausages, t-shirts and a beer tent.

Open to more than just solo marathon runners, the half marathon can also be run as part of a three-person relay team, and last year, a 10 km run/walk option was added to the race.

Overall winners were Jeremy Duchan of Lethbridge and Cherie Cooper of Kimberley for the male and female top spots, respectively. Duchan timed in at one hour and 22 minutes and Cooper at one hour and 33 minutes.

In the 10 km category, the male and female winners were Bertrand Bourgeois of Fernie (47:23) and Robyn Vance Halvoson (49:05) of Medicine Hat.