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2015: The year in beer and running

A year in review


2015 was another banner year for combining craft beer and an active lifestyle. New beer-friendly races were launched, the beer mile became bigger than ever, and for one brand beer became the new yoga pants.

In August, I traveled to San Francisco for the World Beer Mile Championships. There I met a humble young Canadian named Lewis Kent who would go on to become the greatest beer miler of all time.

In the space of a year, Kent won two beer mile titles, landed a sponsorship with Brooks, and appeared on the Ellen show.

The beer mile world record was lowered several times, and ended the year with a new 4:47 for men and 6:08 for women at the FloTrack Beer Mile Championship in Austin.

Canada surged to dominance in the beer mile, from Kent to masters world record holder Jim Finlayson.

Meanwhile, the beer mile became a household term and started appearing in pop culture, such as an episode of The League. Fox Sports host Katie Nolan also completed a beer mile and told viewers “don’t ever do this.”

The Beer Lovers Marathon was organized to take place in Belgium in 2016, and will feature 15 (!) beer tastings along the course.

A brewery in Australia started advertising to runners by offering a free six pack of their lager if you record a 6KM run and submit it on their website pureblondebeerrun.com. “It’s time to run for the love of beer,” the brewery advertised.

Races and clubs that featured beer and running debuted or expanded in 2015. They included the Oskar Blues beer relay,  the Beer and Bagel trail run series, the Ecliptic Brewing beer mile, the Mikkeller run clubs and Craft Brew Races.

Ghost Runners Brewery in Vancouver, which expanded in 2015, is inspired by the running lifestyle. There you can find running theme in the name of every beer, like 5K IPA, Hellacious Repeats Double IPA and Negative Split Stout, among others.

Wheaties now has its own beer. It’s name? HefeWheaties.

There were amazing success stories in 2015. Santa Clara Valley Brewing assistant brewer Jake McCluskey, who was once 370 pounds, started training with a simple couch to 5K program. A year later, he lost more than 150 pounds and completed a 50-mile brewery-to-brewery run for his 42nd birthday.

Beer…and yoga pants? Lululemon, the brand famous for its stylish line of workout clothing, stretched into the beer market with a new craft brew at the SeaWheeze half-marathon and festival of music.

On a personal note, this is one of my most successful running years ever. I set a number of  personal records, and of course rewarded myself for the effort.

In terms of beer and running, 2014 was hard to top, but 2015 seemed to meet and surpass expectations. What are your predictions for 2016?


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] draftmag.com.

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