At some point we have all joked about running to get a beer. And at some point we have probably heard about insane people doing those “beer mile” races (drink a beer per lap around a regulation track, so it’s four for a mile; got to see the Cal-Berkeley cross country team do it once, the term “debacle” is far too light for the horror show that I saw). Somewhere between joking and pure insanity, some good people decided to combine beer and running in a safe, manageable, but still fun way. Thus, the ABQ Brew Dash has been created and will take place May 9 at Balloon Fiesta Park. Click here for ticket info.
So how does one safely combine drinking and running?
“Well, we’re runners ourselves, so it was an easy leap of faith, so to speak,” said the event’s co-founder and organizer, Josh Rogers. “I work for a non-profit here in town called Run Fit. We put on 15 races a year and I think last year we remembered that Bosque Brewing did a run for beer. … It was my first kind of step into this idea of running for beer.”
So Josh and his co-founder Jeff Galindo came up with the idea of an organized, safe event.
“We were just like, we should do this, we should really go out and figure out how to do this,” Josh said. “There were some models across the country that were doing this, but none were huge or anything. But we thought this could work. We started with Bosque Brewing and said hey, we have this idea. They were pretty excited about it. We just started getting the process going last year.”
Part of that process was finding the right location. Originally the idea was for a road race right in the Brewery District by Canteen and La Cumbre. Not everyone was a big fan of that idea, however.
“We were in a planning meeting with the City and they said just move it to Balloon Fiesta Park,” Josh said. “It was simpler that way. APD was much more unconcerned than they would have been with people running on public streets. They had a bunch of stipulations about how will you control this. It was complicated.”
In the end, containing things to the Fiesta grounds was much easier. Having covered a national cross country youth race there once (the things I do for beer money), it is a good course for people to run. It’s nice and flat, and the grass field is a lot more forgiving on knees and shins than most asphalt and concrete.
“We’ve found that a lot of craft beer drinkers are into cycling or running or whatever it may be, so the idea just kind of spiraled and it kept growing,” Josh said. “The interest has been tremendous. We hope it’s a really successful event. We have all the experience in the world running road races.”
Smartly, Josh and his staff are letting the breweries share in the planning of the beer garden area where the three sponsors will set up shop.
“They’ve provided excellent advice for doing it right so we don’t run into the same mistakes as some beer fests,” Josh said. “One of the best things is the breweries are active partners with us. They’re excited about the event. They want to see it succeed because it’s their success, too.”
The event will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. on May 9. The plan is to hold two races, a mile and a 5-kilometer, with prizes for the top three finishers by gender and age group. Of course, people of all sizes and skill level are welcome. Heck, a lot of us in the Brew Crew are running in the 5K, and none of us are about to be confused with some of the athletes I cover.
“Most of our races are half runners and half walkers, so the mile is a run/walk,” Josh said. “We also have a designated driver pass for people who want one. Uber is a sponsor of the race so they will also be providing rides.
“You have to be 21 and up to drink, but we have a 15-year-old signed up to run. If you want to bring your kids you can.”
People can sign up as an individual or a team, Josh said, with teams of six or more people receiving a $5 discount per person (so $30 instead of $35 for the 5K, $25 instead of $30 for the mile). The prices will start to go up beginning April 3, so register ASAP. All participants get an ABQ Brew Dash T-shirt and a beer glass. You do get one free pint of the beer of your choice after the race (though maybe not right after; post-race hydrating may be in order if you’re not in the best shape or it’s hot outside). Josh said the three breweries will bring anywhere from four beers up to seven or eight, if the total number of people attending surges forward. We’ll get those lists when we get closer to race day. Beer sales will commence at 5:45, so I guess we all know the time to beat for the 5K if you want to be first in line.
There will be live music throughout the night (bands TBA), plus four food trucks on site to fill your bellies with something besides beer.
Oh, those prizes for the overall winners in the mile and 5K, both male and female, will be custom growlers. Yes, they will be filled for you to take home, you crazy in-shape-people. The top finishers will all get special medals. When Josh has those in hand, he’ll send us a picture and we can share them with the rest of you.
So there you go, an event combining good fitness with good beer. What more could we all need in New Mexico before summer rolls around?
As Franz Solo once said, paraphrasing Dean Wormer, “Fit, drunk, and stupid is the way to go through life, son.” We couldn’t agree more. Though we leave the “stupid” part for others to judge.
Cheers! And see you all on those running trails leading up to the Dash!