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Let’s be honest for a minute: Running kind of sucks sometimes.
But there is one thing that makes the tough sport better: booze. To experience the union of two epic elements (running and alcohol), we found the best races that involve both. Go ahead—pick your poison.
May 22, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts
Under the belief that every great run deserves a great beer, the Harpoon 5-Miler rewards runners with kegs of Harpoon and UFO tapped and ready at the finish. Runners get two free beer tickets included in registration for the post-race party. Don’t worry if it takes more than that to replenish your lost electrolytes—additional beer tickets can be purchased on-site for $6. It’s not all beer and games, though: Proceeds from the event go to The Angel Fund, a nonprofit charity benefiting ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) research at UMASS Medical Center in Worcester. Just be sure to sign up early! The race through South Boston is so popular the 4,000 lucky participants must be randomly selected through a lottery.
July 17, 2016 in Napa and Sonoma Valley, California
The flagship event in the Wine Country Half-Marathon Series, this popular and scenic race begins at the Cuvaison Carneros Winery and ends at the historic Sonoma Plaza in front of City Hall. Along the way, runners experience wine country at its best, passing through rows of rolling vineyards, picturesque landscapes, and even a wildlife preserve. Past the finish line, a wine and music festival awaits. Not ready for a half-marathon? You can still earn your wine. The GunBunFunRun 5K follows the final three miles of the half-marathon course and ends at the same post-race festival. Translation? Less work gets you just as much booze.
July 10, 2016 in Willamette Valley, Oregon
Ideal for those who like long-distance running as much as they enjoy generous pours of wine, the Fueled by Fine Wine Half-Marathon features a course full of rolling hills through the unpaved vineyard trails of Oregon’s world-class wine region. Though the course is a difficult one, it will all be worth it once you’re wearing your race medal and sipping some of the state’s finest wines with friends and family members. Race registration includes a logo wine glass and a well-earned tasting of Dundee Hills wines.
June 4, 2016 in Bend, Oregon
For the ultimate team-bonding (and team-drinking) experience, there’s the Bend Beer Chase. The one-day, six-person relay race is approximately 70 miles long and winds through central Oregon. The distance is broken up into 12 legs of varying mileage, so that while one runner pounds the pavement, the remaining team members follow along in a van for the best, smelliest, road trip ever.Once the relay portion is over, the real fun begins. Runners ditch their vans and follow the remaining Keg Leg portion of the course on foot, stopping at six breweries. At each stop, teams can enjoy beer samples before they ultimately reach the finish line (the last brewery), where even more booze, food, prizes, and swag awaits.
June 26, 2016 in Hampton, New Hampshire
The main event of the Will Run for Beer race series, this 5K is held on the grounds of the new Smuttynose Brewery. The course is a single-loop run on the rural back roads of Hampton, and crosses a small pond, stone walls, and beautiful open fields. The race is open to runners of all ages, and when it’s complete, there’s a live band, plus plenty of beer for those over age 21.
September 10, 2016 in Somerdale, New Jersey
The Flying Fish 5K begins and ends at the brewery, so it’s guaranteed to be a nonstop party. After the timed 3.1-mile course, finishers are treated to an official beer mug for Oktoberfest sampling. And if you run extra fast, you might just be first in line for a brewery tour post race! After-party festivities coincide with the annual Somerdale Day activities, featuring a beer garden that serves Flying Fish beer, lawn games, live music, great food, local vendors, and a vintage car show.
June 12, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
If you’ve ever wondered, “How many beers can I drink in 1.8 miles?” then the Riverwest Beer Run and Walk is for you. The 1.8-mile route through the streets of Riverwest kicks off the annual Locust Street Festival of Music and Arts, and challenges runners to down four 4-ounce beers along the way. However, nothing’s stopping runners from grabbing more than four drinks if they want to challenge their livers—though it could compromise their finish time. Participants are invited to dress up in costume and stick around for the festival, which includes bands, food, vendors, artists, and street performers.
May 21, 2016 in Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Looking to run a PR and celebrate with lots of suds? Victory Brewing Company’s Run for Victory is where it’s at. Combine a flat, 3.1-mile course and the promise of beer just past the finish line, and you’ve got the perfect motivating factors to run at top speed.
March 12, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana
Get a move on at the Shamrock 5K Beer Run, a 3.1 mile trot through downtown Indianapolis that involves downing three-ounce beers five times throughout the course. At the finish line, participants get a full pint and commemorative glass to continue the celebration. They won’t, however, get an official time: Race organizers encourage runners to ditch their pro dreams and GPS watches and instead take in the laidback atmosphere.
May 15, 2016 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
If you like the idea of a wine-themed half-marathon but can’t trek to the West Coast, this race offers shorter mileage, similar scenary, and an East Coast locale. Once runners complete the 3.1-mile course, they’re invited to relax at the after-party at Penns Woods Winery, where they can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, live music, food vendors, and lawn games.
Yards Beer Runs
Third Tuesday of Each Month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Love beer and running but don’t necessarily want to race? Yards Beer Runs and Happy Hours are offered the third Tuesday of every month and don’t require race bibs, timing chips, or fancy watches. Runners meet at the southeast corner of Franklin Square and run a 4.25-mile route across the Ben Franklin Bridge and back before retreating to Yards Brewing Company to drink beers among new and old friends.
January 2, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
If your New Year’s resolutions involve getting fit and eating healthier, this race isn’t a great idea. But it is a helluva good time! The race invites individuals to walk, jog, or run a 0.5K or 5K (that’s .3 miles or 3.1-miles, respectively) through Minneapolis before binging on beer, bacon, pizza, and ice cream at the post-race party. Finishers get a free Day Block Brewing Company beer, a good feeling knowing that some of the race funds go directly to charity, and the right to say, “I’ll try again next year.”
You won’t get thirsty during this 2.5-mile fun run. Tap ‘N’ Run events replace water stations with multiple chug stations strategically placed at the start of the race and twice along the course. At the finish line, participants are awarded with a 12-ounce beer and a finisher’s medal that doubles as a bottle opener. Runners—and skippers, walkers, and joggers—are encouraged to dress in costume, leave the kids at home, and have a ridiculously good time.
Celebrating the overlap of craft beer lovers and active folks (hello, CrossFit devotees!), Craft Brew Races host a timed 5K with individual and team awards and a 3-hour post-race celebration featuring local craft breweries. Finishers get a branded pint glass to use for sampling, and even non-runners can join in on the fun by purchasing ‘Festival Only’ tickets.
Whether you like celebrating small victories with a little vino or enjoy getting the party started a little early, the Wicked Wine Run event series has you covered: The 1K tasting walk provides four wine-tasting stops along the course, while the 5K wine run features celebratory wine at the finish line. Whichever you choose, you’re in for wicked time: Participants are encouraged to wear costumes and let loose while sipping local samples. Best of all, you’ll be able to enjoy your wine without having to know where the grapes were grown, because this is a wine snob-free event.
If you’ve got a serious competitive streak—or a desire to be as ridiculous as possible—this is the run for you. Race organizers challenge participants to drink a beer every quarter mile throughout the one-mile race course—without puking. If you’re bad at math, that means you’ll drink four beers in one mile. (To put that into perspective: Most people can jog a mile in 10 minutes or less if they weren’t stopping for booze. So this race is potentially 80 ounces of beer in way less than 30 minutes.) And remember, we said you couldn’t puke.Once your stomach settles down, you can go absolutely bonkers at a giant after-party complete with a costume contest, dancing, lawn games, and an open bar. You’ll get more than a hefty buzz out of this race, though: Proceeds go to Water.org, an organization that helps provide access to clean water for those in need.