Running for Brews was founded in 2010 by Kevin and John, a couple of locals who share a love of running and craft beer. Four nights a week, group members meet at a downtown bar or brewery, run a 5k and drink a (sometimes discounted) brew or two. Their idea caught on quickly: There are now more than 25 Running for Brews locations hosting over 10,000 members across the country.
Tonight’s run meets at Around the Corner, an awesome new arcade bar in downtown St. Pete. My wife Stephanie and I are greeted by the Running for Brews founders as soon as we walk in the door, and we’re given a quick rundown of the group as we sign our waivers. It’s a small group tonight — probably because of the rain — but I love running in the rain and am looking forward to meeting some new people. I am delighted to hear that we’re running around Tropicana Field; this group definitely embraces some of the best parts of St. Pete.
After checking out the map of our route, we tighten our laces and head out the door. Due to my achilles issues, I keep my miles low and slow. The 5k is just outside of my “safe zone” right now, so I stick to just over two miles and remind myself I can do more next week. The RFB group is friendly and low-key; I don’t feel judged or pressured to go faster or further. Some of the runners I met at the bar see me at the turnaround point and give me waves and high-fives.
Running around Tropicana Field is a cool experience, one I wouldn’t have thought of and am looking forward to doing again soon. Before I know it, I’ve finished my miles and am back at Around the Corner for my discounted beer. Our names are entered in a raffle for a free beer and since it’s our first time at an RFB event, Stephanie and I both get free coasters to take home.
Running for Brews is pretty brilliant, and I’m not surprised it’s catching on so quickly. I have a great time meeting other runners who are also fans of good locally crafted beer. Nobody takes it too seriously; everyone is there to have fun. I don’t know why it took me so long to try out a fun group run, but I like it so much I come back a few days later with some friends for another round. This time, we meet at The Ale and the Witch and run across downtown St. Pete’s waterfront alongside sailboats and sea life.
Group runs are a great way to make friends and stay motivated, and Running for Brews does an exceptional job of facilitating both. The fact that you can pick and choose from runs on multiple nights a week at various locations is an added bonus. I will definitely continue to run for brews, and recommend it for anyone looking to meet new people or switch up their workweek evenings with a social fun run.