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Beer running: A year in review

Maybe the biggest year ever.


2014 was a big year for the combination of beer and running. Maybe the biggest year ever.

It was a year that we saw the first sub-5 minute beer mile, a legendary feat that many compared to the first sub 4 minute mile. Then a 44-year-old mother of six shattered the women’s beer mile record.

Following those milestones, the first ever beer mile world championships were held in Austin and streamed live online around the world. The event set another women’s record while the men’s side won with a 5 flat. Not to be outdone, Milwaukee set a group beer mile record.

In the midst of all this beer mile activity, the once-underground event went mainstream. It was covered by news outlets from the Wall Street Journal to Nate Silver’s 538 data journalism website.

There was also non-beer mile news, though it felt like beer miles dominated the headlines.

Philadelphia’s Fishtown Beer Runners launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded a documentary about the group, which included a trip to Madrid.

Beer runner bumper stickers became a thing.

I learned about beer yoga.

Apps were developed to calculate your post-exercise beer reward.

Runner’s World devoted an entire week to beer and running coverage.

Beer-themed race series popped up around the country.

A new running and beer store opened in Colorado called Shoes and Brews, equally devoted to running gear and draft beer.

Even more research came out to back up the idea that you should reward yourself with beer after exercise.

Beer running clubs had special beer brewed just for them.

Races introduced “win your weight in beerprizes.

And this happened.

Personally, I was happy with my year. I shaved nearly 27 minutes off my marathon PR and finished in 2:59:55 in October’s Lakefront Marathon. I celebrated with Milwaukee Brewing’s Louie’s Demise at the finish line.

I completed the difficult Dances with Dirt trail half marathon, got second in my age group and rewarded myself with Bell’s.

I just finished my last race of 2014 yesterday with the Race Into The New Year 5K. Conditions weren’t ideal, with sub-zero windchills at the start. I couldn’t feel my toes for most of the race.

But I was happy with the result: An 18:03, good enough for 12th overall and 1st in my age group. The finish line beer was (thankfully) served indoors, where I enjoyed a Lakefront Extended Play IPA. The perfect session beer for 11 in the  morning.

How was your year? What was the highlight?

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Tim Cigelske is DRAFT's Beer Runner. (Beer Run•ner [noun]: Someone equally devoted to fine beer appreciation and an active, healthy lifestyle. Ex. "John downed four microbrews at the triathlon finish line. He's a total beer runner.”) Follow Tim on Twitter @TheBeerRunner, and email him at beerrunner [at]

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  • Matt LaPaglia says:

    My highlight was shaving 11 minutes off my half marathon PR with a 1:26:30 at the Kiawah half marathon. Then rehydrating with a few pints from Palmetto Brewing. I’ve never felt so pumped after a race! Cheers to a great year

  • Mark says:

    Did my first beer run this year. Had another runner with me that isn’t a beer drinker so I had double the beer bounty. Beers interspersed throughout the run.
    Great time & will definitely do again. Search “Bradfest” in Duluth, MN for an outstanding event.

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