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Beer & Running: How These Two Passions Intersect

A Colorado running store with 20 beer taps. A microbrewery with a running theme. Beers brewed with runners in mind and a beer-drinking relay.

Although it seems like a recent trend, beer and running have crossed paths since the beginning of the running boom. Beer brands have been sponsoring running races since the 1970s and running clubs have informally met for post-run beers for even longer. Here are just a few ways beer and running intersect in the 21st century:

A running store in Colorado also has 20 microbrew taps!

Shoes and Brews opened in Longmont, Colo., in late July as the first full-fledged beer and running operation in the U.S. It was started by a group of runners (including three former collegiate runners) who have an inkling for beer and sensed a business opportunity. It’s a full-service running store with an artfully designed shoe wall and all the apparel, accessories and nutritional items you’d find at any running shop. Only this one has 20 microbrew taps serving up beer from the best breweries along Colorado’s Front Range.

VIDEO: A Running Store With 20 Beer Taps

Ghost Runners Brewery is in it for The Long Run

Ghost Runners Brewery in Vancouver, Wash., was conceived by a couple of runners who liked good beer. The connection between beer and running is natural, says co-founder Jeff Seibel, especially in the Pacific Northwest. It’s why all of its beers are named with running terms: 5K IPA, Negative Split Stout, Hellacious Repeats Double IPA, Strong Leg Imperial Stout, Hydration IPA, Turkey Trot Winter Dark Ale and Pace Breaker Oatmeal Pale Ale, just to name a few.

MORE: A Glimpse Inside Ghost Runners Brewery

The Running Shop and Hops in Morgan Hill, Calif.

Paul Rakitin opened The Running Shop in July 2013 in a strip mall on the outskirts of Morgan Hill, Calif., purely to get into the specialty running retail business. But he always had the urge to serve beer too. So this past summer, he and his wife, Rene, relocated the running store to a renovated 3,000-square-foot location in downtown Morgan Hill and reopened with a new section of the business—a taproom that serves up 54 different craft beers (including four with nitro taps). They changed the name to The Running Shop and Hops, and, so far, business has been booming. Click through the photos at the link below to get a glimpse inside this unique shop.

PHOTOS: Inside The Running Shop and Hops

MORE: The Running Shop and Hops

A Q&A with Colorado’s Running Entrepre-Brewer

A former collegiate track runner, Colin Anderson fondly missed chillin’ with his teammates after a long weekend training run at Road 34—a bike shop in Fort Collins, Colo., that also served food and a wide range of craft beers. That gave the now 26-year-old the idea to open a running shop with a similar dual-purpose hang-out vibe. Although it took a few years, Shoes & Brews opened its doors in July 2014 in Longmont, Colo., as the first beer and running retail operation in the U.S.

Last Lap Interview with Colin Anderson of Shoes & Brews

A New Beer Mile World Record

Canadian runner Corey Bellemore lowered the world record for the beer mile twice this past summer. On July 28, at a beer mile race in Windsor, Canada, the 21-year-old Bellemore took 8 seconds off the existing record with a 4:39.56 effort. (A beer mile consists of drinking a 12-ounce beer, then running a lap on a 400-meter track and repeating that process three more times as fast as possible.) Then three days later he dominated the second annual Beer Mile World Classic in London (left), winning with a 13-second margin in 4:34.35.

MORE: A Beer Mile World Record

Beer Brewed Just for Runners

Developing beer for runners is not exactly a new theme, though. For example, prior to the 1984 Olympics, Anheuser-Busch developed a “low-alcohol” beer geared toward joggers and various fitness fanatics. Now Sufferfest Beer Co. and Ninkasi Brewing have come up with beers especially for runners.

MORE: Beer Brewed Just for Runners

5 Boroughs, 5 Beers In The New York City Marathon

It’s a somewhat difficult but intriguing feat to drink a beer in each of the five different New York City boroughs in one day or night. But by way of taxi, ferry, subway and plenty of walking, it can be a fun way for locals and visitors alike to imbibe and enjoy a wide variety of Big Apple nightlife. But what about doing it along the New York City Marathon course, which just happens to pass through each of the boroughs on the first Sunday in November? It’s not only possible, but the very unofficial course record is pretty hard to beat if you consider what it takes to run 26.2 miles with at least 60 ounces of beer playing a big role in your hydration strategy.

MORE: NYC Marathon—5 Boroughs, 5 Beers

How Lewis Kent Trains for the Beer Mile World Championships

Our friends at Canadian Running magazine went out to a track in London, Ont., for an evening of beer mile training with Lewis Kent, who holds the world record-holder in the event with his recent 4:51.9 effort. He’ll be one of the favorites in the 2015 FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships on Dec. 1 in Austin, Texas. If you think you have what it takes to run a fast beer mile, check out this video to see what Kent and some of his running pals do for track workouts.

MORE: A Track Workout To Prepare for the Beer Mile World Championships

MORE : Beer Mile Record-Holder Signs With Brooks

You, too, can run a beer mile!

It sounds like a classic bar bet: How fast can you run a mile on a track while drinking four beers along the way? It’s not as easy as you might think. The most common format of a beer mile requires each runner to drink a 12-ounce beer (with a minimum alcohol content of 5 percent) and immediately run a quarter mile (roughly one lap around most tracks in the U.S.), then repeat the process three more times. Although it’s more of an individual time trial than a race, a beer mile is timed from the moment the runners crack their first beers to the time each runner finishes the fourth lap around the track.

MORE: Beer Mile Record-Holder Lewis Kent’s Tips for Running a Beer Mile 

MORE: How to Run a Beer Mile

The Beer Relay Debuts in Colorado and North Carolina

In 2015, an event called The Beer Relay debuted in Lyons, Colo., and Asheville, N.C. The Beer Relay, which has a tagline of “Drink, Run, Repeat,” was organized by Adventure Fit Inc., a company that has organized numerous bike and running events around the U.S.—including the Shape Magazine Diva Dash, the New Belgium Urban Assault Ride, and the Oskar Blues Old Man Winter Bike Rally. Many of those events have included beer, either during or after the athletic activities.

“Our passion is producing events with a twist. We take traditional activities and pair them in unusual ways,” says Sharon Cutler, Managing Director of Adventure Fit Inc. “When we came up with the idea for The Beer Relay, we started bouncing it off people at running shops and in the running community. At first, people thought it was a lot of running and a lot of drinking, but depending on your team size you might only be drinking a beer every two hours or so. Once people understood that, everyone started to embrace it.”

PHOTOS: The Beer Relay

MORE: The Debut of the Beer Relay

Beer and Running in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Situated along the Tennessee River and nestled among a portion of the Appalachian Mountains, the city of Chattanooga is beginning to boast an active community of runners and a growing reputation for their local craft beers. Thus, it’s only natural that one of the largest free social beer running clubs (with 16 locations across the nation), Running for Brews, has established a chapter in the Scenic City. In the past few years, the group has grown to a solid attendance of 30 to 40 runners weekly, gathering every Wednesday in front of the Brewhaus Bar at 7 p.m. From there they begin their 3-mile route across the world’s largest pedestrian-only Walnut Street Bridge, then cross Holmberg bridge and run along the Chattanooga River Walk before turning around just beyond the University of Tennessee’s practice football field and back to the bar where a cold brew awaits them.

MORE: Beer and Running in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Running-Themed Microbrews

Several North American breweriess have produced seasonal or one-off running-themed beers in recent years, including Pace-Setter Belgian-Style Wit (Mavericks Brewing Co.), Blue Mile Extra Pale Ale (Flat 12 Bierwerks), Runner’s High-P-A (Lagunitas Brewing Co.), Tail Wind IPA (Big Boss Brewing Co.), 200-Meter IPA (Rogue Ales Brewery/Track Town Ales) and Marathon Blonde (Toner Brewing Co.). Here’s a look at six running-themed microbrews.

MORE: Six Running-Themed Microbrews

Running-Themed Beers & Breweries

There are dozens of running-themed craft beers produced in the U.S. and a couple of breweries started by runners. Aside from the Boston Brewing Co’s seasons Samuel Adams 26.2 Brew, there’s also Second Wind Pale Ale from Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, N.C., Track Town 200 Meter Ale from the Rogue Brewery in Eugene, Ore., Pace Setter Wit from Mavericks/Half Moon Bay Brewing Company in Half Moon Bay, Calif. and 10K IPA from Ghost Runners Brewery in Vancouver, Wash. Also, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. in Bend, Ore., was founded by sibling brothers and has a running club that means almost every morning.

MORE: Brewing Up A Runner’s Dream

 Beer On The Run

  • Held each year in early April, Brew to Brew Relay  is a zany beer-themed point-to-point 44.4-mile relay (or solo run) between the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, Mo., and the Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kan. Runners can have two free five-ounce beers at the start, and at the finish there’s a post-race party with even more beer.
  • Finishers of the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon in Washington, which is sponsored by the Munchen Haus Bavarian Grill and Beer Garden, receive a finisher’s medal in the shape of a beer bottle opener. 
  • Every year five local craft beers are on tap at the Victoria Gastro Pub Running Festival. The five taps have included beers from the Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Jailbreak, Troegs and Union Craft breweries.

Did you know?

A recent study from the University of Colorado revealed that aerobic exercise is an effective treatment against the brain damage caused by heavy alcohol consumption. Make of it what you will, but the study didn’t come to the conclusion that doing hard workouts after a late-night bender was actually good for you, either.