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Beat Beethoven 5K run this Sunday

Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven when composing t...
Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa Solemnis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beethoven probably isn’t found on most running playlists, but this Sunday the composer’s famous 5th Symphony will be motivating runners of all ages in the Fort Collins Symphony’s Beat Beethoven 5K run.

The first note of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony will begin the race and the goal will be to finish the race before the music ends. Event coordinators hope that the piece’s 32 minutes will be enough for most of the day’s runners to successfully “beat” Beethoven.


“Beethoven is a staple of the orchestra repertoire, and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is one of the most famous symphonies, but it was really chosen because of the time it takes to play this particular piece of famous music,” said Wes Kenney, Fort Collins Symphony’s music director.

The run is part of the Symphony’s Outside the Box series, which aims to bring classical music to the community in ways that are both unconventional and accessible.

“We want to present events that are metaphorically outside the box and literally outside the box,” said Lisa Schwartz, advertising and events coordinator for the Fort Collins Symphony. “Literally meaning outside our home at the Lincoln Center, and metaphorically meaning events that aren’t necessarily symphonic or orchestral.”

So far the series has had success with events like Bach and Beer, which took place at the New Belgium Brewery, and French Fortnight, which featured two weeks of French food and culture.

With about 150 runners already registered and a sunny forecast, the Symphony is looking forward to another successful interaction with members of the community who might not be part of the Symphony’s typical audience.

“When we first began to introduce this idea last October, we had a lot of people get excited about it and get excited to help us,” said Carrie Newman, Fort Collins Symphony executive director. “We were surprised at the outpour of support. This idea really seems to have touched a chord.”

In addition to giving community members an opportunity to be active, enjoy some lovely spring weather and become better acquainted with the world of classical music, the run also acts as a fundraiser for Larimer County’s only professional symphony.

“We’re the oldest performing arts group in the county, and we are also the most expensive because of the size of the symphony and all that goes into creating its huge, robust sound,” Newman said.

Registration costs $30 ahead of time, and will be $40 for those who choose to register the morning of the race. The race will begin at 9 am, so be sure to get there early if you are going to register the day of.


To help runners prepare, the Symphony has provided a link to a download of Beethoven’s 5th on their website, and has posted a few training tips on their Facebook page.

The latest tip reads “Speak in German. You will learn a new language and intimidate your fellow runners as you run by them. Mach Schnell, Beethoven Kommt! (Hurry up — Beethoven’s coming!)”

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