Today we’re going to talk about beer and running clubs, two very different subjects brought together in several spots around Tampa Bay.
These are two very different subjects to talk about. One is the giver of life, the creator of memories, and the thing that can prolong and add excitement to the life of a person who does it on a regular basis. The other is running.
Last week we touched on the Four Green Fields running club, a curious anomaly that has been a staple in Tampa for several years. According to the group’s website, these “drinkers with a running problem” meet at the Platt Street bar on Tuesday nights, run a 5k up and down Bayshore Boulevard, then return to the bar for a pint to celebrate a successful completion of the night’s workout.
On paper, this would seem a counterproductive exercise method somewhere on par with visiting a bakery just after leaving a boot camp class. But the club has enjoyed a healthy following all the same: as many as 400 people have been reported to show up for the Tuesday dash and quaff.
But this running club appears to have spawned a new trend in the bay area: beer running clubs. The World of Beer in Westchase also has a Tuesday night club where runners go do their thing and then return to the bar for a victory chug. The World of Beer in St. Petersburg also hosts a club called Running for Brews, which also has an organization that meets at MacDintons in Hyde Park. The FITNiche group likes to end its runs at the Brass Tap.
So what’s the appeal of combining running with drinking? Well, it helps to have a goal when running, even if said goal just happens to be a cold one at the end of the course. The larger draw for running a 5k with a bar as the starting and ending point rests with the social aspects of both activities. Running, for seeming to be a solitary sport, can be enjoyed more when done with other people: people to keep pace with, people to push oneself, people who will help other, less-motivated people to get up and go running when they’d rather go back to bed or recline on the couch and finish watching that really interesting Law and Order rerun (let’s face it: all Law and Order reruns are interesting. That’s why they’re on all the time.) Likewise, bars are levied as the very definition of social gathering (see: parties, wakes, weddings, any night of the week ending in Y, etc.) So in fact, what we have in a running club hosted by a bar would be the runner’s equivalent of a Reese’s peanut butter cup: two great tastes that taste great together.
These running clubs haven’t just taken root in the bay area, however. There have been other accounts of bar running clubs in various parts of the country, many of whom seem to accept the practice even while scratching their heads just a little at the concept.
What do you think, gentle readers? Has anyone out there partaken of this dash and drink experience? What do you think about it?