There is a peculiar little community spread sporadically across the globe, of people who enjoy the combination of beer and running. No, I’m not talking about people who drink beer then go running (although, yes, there are several of them), or people who drink beer while running. I’m referring to the fun phenomena of beer runners, who balance their enthusiasm for good beer around long distance running.
America seems to leads the way with its community of beer runners and events. Most notably is DRAFT magazine’s Tim Cigelske, who recently completed a three year streak of running at least one mile and drinking at least one beer every day.
Tim is a journalist, social media guru, university professor and running coach. He documented his impressive 1,097 days of beer running via DRAFT magazine, demonstrating the friendly cohesion that can exist between beer consumption, fitness and social experiences.
There’s a number of other beer runners who are worth checking out online, including Derrick Peterman of Ramblings of a Beer Runner, marathoner Claire Walsh of Will Run for Beer, Benjamin Mazur of Ben Runs on Beer, Suzi Storm of Ok just one more beer, and the team from Brew Drink Run.
I am one such beer runner. Beer is both my vice and my reward. Delicious, flavoursome and characterful beer provides the incentive to run far and run often. I love to combine running with beer, not at the same time, but they go together. I run for beer and I run because of beer. End result, my health and fitness are maintained.
I took up running in 2009 to help reduce my weight. At first I could barely run 300 metres, and that was down hill (until then, I had run very little over my 29 years of life). Slowly, I increased that distance up to 4 km, purely through persistence. I learned how distance running is more a test of mental perseverance than physical ability. To go further, you just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Along with regular running came a vast improvement in my overall fitness, allowing me to enjoy plenty of beer consumption without the elevated kilojoules, carbohydrates and sugar impacting my health. Sure, there were times when I stopped drinking altogether for extended periods, up to 6 weeks, to help make a further significant dent in my weight loss goal. Nonetheless, it’s all part of the bigger health equation of balancing kilojoule intake with energy output.
After first participating in our Melbourne Marathon Festival, running the 10km course in 2010, Jenn and I started a little tradition of enjoying a refueling post run lunch at Mrs Parmas in Melbourne city, a destination for all things Victorian craft beer. We indulged on a bunch of dark beers, including the original release of Bridge Road Brewer’s brilliant B2 Bomber Belgian Black IPA.
Our next big run was our first 14.4km Run for the Kids across CityLink in April 2011. We discovered a new form of post run beer joy by heading straight from the finish line to the nearby Beer DeLuxe after the race. Still in our running gear, the first beer we had hit the spot perfectly….it was an 8 Wired Brewing Tall Poppy, an India red ale (that was the first time we’d had this wonderful beer on tap). We didn’t expect a rich and hoppy, 7% abv beer to be so refreshing and easy to drink after our longest run to date. I’ve had other highly hoppy beers after runs that didn’t work so well for me on other occasions. I suspect the wonderful malt-backbone and overall balance of Tall Poppy made this beer a winner after the run.
Ever since, following a running event in Melbourne city, we head to Beer DeLuxe then Mrs Parmas for our “recovery”.
In the past year we’ve also complete runs in other parts of Victoria, which have expanded our post run beering adventures.
After running the 13.2km Puffing Billy Great Train Race, a race that starts just up the road from our front door, then takes you across the leg straining hills of Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges, it was pot of Hargreaves Hill ESB at Kelly’s Bar in Olinda.
Last month I ran the 30km Yarra Valley Grape Run and Jenn ran the 13km route. Afterwards we had beers at the White Rabbit Brewery in Healesville.
Tomorrow, back in Melbourne city, I am attempting my first full marathon, while Jenn tackles her second half-marathon, for our fourth year of competing in the Melbourne Marathon Festival.
Should I survive the marathon, what will refresh me after the 42 km?
This has been something I’ve considered at length over the past month, while limiting my beer intake as I train for this mammoth challenge.
From the new beers on the market, a bottle of BrewCult Hop Zone Session IPA could work nicely, a delightful beer for refreshment, but a 500ml bottle may be difficult to throw down after the strain of running a distance I’ve never covered before.
The new Mountain Goat Summer Ale in a can will definitely be perfect for handling after the race. Convenient, crisp and dry, hoppily refreshing. Yeah ok…it’s mostly just because this local beer is IN A CAN! Yep, I’ll have some on standby.
For appropriately named beers, I could grab a few recent US craft beer imports to Australia, including the Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet or anything by Victory Brewing…? If only I could get my hands on some James River Brewing River Runner Bitter!
I’ll head out today and see what other appropriately themed beers I can track down in Melbourne’s beer shops.
Regardless of whichever brew makes it to my mouth first after the marathon, the effort required to reach that beer will surely make any almost beer rewarding and worthwhile. Most of all, I’m always keen for something fresh, something local, something with character.
Which beer do you recommend for drinking after crossing the finish line?