Wake up. Run. Brunch unapologetically. Those are the makings of pretty much every runner’s ideal Sunday. So Denver runners (and real-life buds) Cortney Logan and Alexandra Weissner decided to turn it into a regular thing.
The pair launched bRUNch Running (get it?) four years ago in their hometown of Denver, Colorado. Since then they’ve expanded to Boulder, Fort Collins, Phoenix, Austin, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. (with plans to add more cities) and draw between 30 and 160 people per event.
Here’s how it works: You buy a ticket (usually $35 for a morning run or $65 for an evening event, because pancakes for dinner is magical). Meet up at the restaurant for a 5K or 10K run led by Logan, Weissner, or one of their ambassadors. Make a ton of new friends and run buddies. Then end at the restaurant and dig into an entrée and two drinks (with tax, gratuity, and a donation to one of the organization’s nonprofit partners built into the ticket price).
Sounds like a solid start to a Sunday and way more fun than a standard workout to us. Here’s how the women turned their weekend run ritual into a community of runners that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
First things first, where did the idea for bRUNch Running come from?
Logan: "We came up with the idea because we were running races almost weekly and then going out to brunch afterward. Our biggest grievance with the races was you get a [beer], a banana, and half a bagel afterward, which doesn’t fill you up after you run a race. So then we’d go to brunch, and it was getting expensive. After a couple of mimosas after one race, we were chatting like, ‘Hey, you know the word ‘run’ is in ‘brunch.’ We figured if other people have the same grievances or interests we do—running and eating—we’d put together an event."
You hold one timed race per year (this year’s is October 8 in Denver), but the rest are more social than competitive. What’s the thinking behind that?
Weissner: "That’s been our core since the beginning. Cortney and I just love the social aspect of running. Running was our social hour together, and we wanted to continue that mentality."
Logan: "We cater to all running levels—we have people who walk and people who run."
Weissner: We’ve had numerous people who ran their first 5K or 10K with us, and now they feel comfortable doing that and getting more active. We're trying to create a community where people are active, eating real food, and experiencing their local communities and new restaurants."
So you try to partner with restaurants that are new and nutritious. Anything else the restaurants have in common?
Weissner: "Most of the restaurants we work with are independently owned or local restaurant groups, so they tend to be on the smaller side."
Logan: "Denver and a lot of the other markets we’re moving into are very health-conscious cities. So whether the owners are runners or just active and want to get involved in things like this, it's usually a pretty easy ask."
Have to ask: What’s your go-to brunch order?
Logan: "French toast with a side of crispy bacon. However, I've just recently discovered avocado toast (apparently I've been living under a rock), and it might be my new favorite food."
Weissner: "My brunch order always includes eggs. Scrambled. Over easy. I love eggs with cheese and avocado. Throw some veggies into the mix with toast, and it’s perfect."
Now that you’re four years into bRUNch Running, where will you take it next?
Weissner: "We made a switch from being an event-planning company. In the past our business plan was to host events throughout the country on a weekly, monthly, whatever basis. In November we sat down because we were just too overworked, and planning all the events ourselves was getting to be too much. Really focusing on developing our bRUNch Tribe has been important to us. That’s our online community, and we have a Facebook group for that too. It’s a place where anyone who’s run with us at any time—and even ourselves and our ambassadors—can talk about running and eating and brunching. That’s been our focus: developing this community that has a presence online but also meets offline, whether that run is a meet-up or just a run from a local coffee shop."
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