By Dylan J. Darling

The Bulletin

Instead of the crack of a starter’s pistol, Bend’s newest footrace started with one of the most recognizable song beginnings in history.

With a “Da da da daaa,” about 200 runners and walkers were off Sunday morning at the Beat Beethoven 5K. The goal was simple — make it back to the finish line before the end of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 33-minute Fifth Symphony. To help runners know how they were doing versus Beethoven, Scott White of running store Fleet Feet kept a pace close to the music while wearing a Beethoven costume.

Such fun runs have been held in other parts of the country, but this was the first time in Bend, said Helen Jones, board member for the Central Oregon Symphony. The race raised more than $4,000 for the symphony.

“It’s a running-crazy community here (in Bend), and we wanted to tie classical music and running,” she said.

KPOV, High Desert Community Radio, aired Beethoven’s classic piece online and at 88.9 FM during the event, which began and ended at Mazama Field at Central Oregon Community College. Speakers at Mazama Field blasted Beethoven. The course covered paths to Shevlin Park Road and back.

To beat Beethoven, 5K runners had to have a pace of at least 10½ -minute miles, Jones said. There was also a mile-long run and walk. Runners and walkers in the event, which Jones hopes will become an annual run, earned a ribbon and a voucher for a ticket to the Central Oregon Symphony.

While motivated to beat Beethoven, having a youngster breathing down his back during the run also spurred Jason Townsend, 39, of Bend to finish first among male runners with a time of 18:35.

The young runner behind Townsend was Jakob Knox, 12, of Bend, who said he was not necessarily racing Beethoven but watching the clock.

“I just wanted to go for a certain time,” he said. He got it, finishing in about 19 minutes and taking second among male 5K runners.

The course was fast and wildfire smoke was not as bad as expected, said Alta Anzalone, 34, of Bend, who finished first among female 5K runners.

“I beat Beethoven!” she said. “I think I was a little over 20 minutes.”

Finishing the 5K in about 31 minutes, Tiggy Dierdorff, 37, of Bend added some flare to his running attire and challenge to his run. He wore a tuxedo jacket and pushed a stroller holding his two daughters, Phoebe, 4, and Greta, 5.

The jacket did not breath too well and Dierdorff thought about taking it off.

“But (my) number’s on it and (I) got to finish,” he said.

Dierdorff was not alone running in costume. Piper Brannin, 11, of Bend wore a brown crushed velvet coat. Before and after she also had a white wig, but she ditched it for the run. Fairly new to the Bend running scene, Brannin has been in seven runs since April. She liked the Beat Beethoven 5K.

“I think this was one of the funnest and prettiest,” she said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812,