Hudepohl 14K: The Race that Knows Darn Well it's a Race

They call it "the race that thinks it's a party."


The Hudepohl 14K (a strange race distance created to honor a strange beer name) combines the city's brewing history with its love of running stupid-long distances, making it quite possibly the most Cincinnati race I've ever run. (Any old city can do a 5K with a beer theme; it takes a special kind of dedication to the art of running and drinking to do a 14K.) The course begins and ends at the Christian Moerlein Lager House, winding through the West End and Over-the-Rhine and highlighting with signs all the spots where historic breweries once stood. There's beer (of course) and music at the end. The finisher's medals double as bottle openers.

And it's 14 kilometers long. That's 8.7 miles.

8.7 miles is a heck of a distance. If this race really thinks it's a party, I think it's fooling itself.

So I prepared for it the way I would any long run. Proper clothing. Body Glide. I stuffed an energy gel into my pocket for Mile 4, hoping none of my fellow partiers would make fun of me for being a total buzzkill.

Turns out, nearly everyone else there was also treating it like a race.

Not a beer bong in sight.

One of the things I love about running is how it lets you explore neighborhoods in a new way. A street you've driven down a thousand times can look completely different when you're experiencing it on foot. (Take, for instance, that photo of the Museum Center above - we actually ran under the museum's driveway, through a tunnel I never knew existed.) And when the course is designed by someone else, you get to go down completely new streets! This course took me to parts of the city I might not otherwise have ever seen.

I would never have had any reason to visit this part
of OTR, as they apparently don't sell $11 hot dogs.

The other great thing about the Hudy 14K was the costumes. This race offers an unusual "tethered team" competition, which means you run literally tied to your teammates. Costumes are an element of this competition, so we saw girls in dirndls (it was Oktoberfest weekend, after all), breast cancer advocates using bras as their tethers, and this - hands down, my favorite team:

It also takes some real skill to run 8.7 miles tied so closely
to five other people. So this is impressive on a few different levels.

So I ended up having a great time at the race, and by taking it seriously and treating it like a race, I also had a great race time. And in the end, we found the party after all.

There you are!

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