Being a sponsored runner by New Holland Brewing Co. is a natural fit for Tim Faith. He also works there as a brewer.
Faith worked out a deal for his employer to sponsor his race entries, and in exchange he promises a top 3 finish in all of his races. And he delivers, including second and third place finishes in the Grand Rapids and Holland half marathons this past fall.
“Not a bad gig at all,” he said.
In this interview, Faith talks about how he went from pre-med to home brewer, his goals for New Holland, and his philosophy of balance.
What are your beer runner credentials?
I’ve always eaten healthy (i.e no fast food, sweets, or fried food). The beer came as more of a fork in the road. Initially I was pre-med in college, and with the discovery of beer, I made the obvious decision, of which I’ll explain later. Drinking beer further fueled my motivation to eat healthier and run more to balance out such a big vice.
How did you get into running?
I’ve been a runner since freshman year of high school. I excelled at the gym mile in junior high, but never really was competitive. It all became a lifestyle in college when I found my body could handle a load of miles.
How did you get into craft beer?
It started in college, with an injury during summer training in 2009 (Augustana XC and Track). During the time off I realized I was quite bored and I didn’t real have any hobbies, other than running. I asked my parents if I could start home brewing (I was 20). They thought it was a great idea, and bought me a beer journal so I could start taking notes on the beer I tried – to explore what flavors I would like to build into my own beer. An internship, a changed major, and over a thousand beer reviews later it was 2011. I organized an internship with my microbiology professor to examine yeast morphology and fermentation in the lab while working 3 days a week at Great River Brewery in Davenport, IA. They gave me a job after graduation. I stayed there for a year and realized it was time to move on, New Holland was the next step. I started there in April of 2012 as a brewer.
What’s your favorite post-run beer?
Difficult question. I tend to be a seasonal drinker, so summer is choked full of the pils and pales, while in fall, I’ll sometimes slay 3 or 4 bottles of a refreshing pumpkin beer (can you say Ichabod?). I’ve read all those articles about how the carbonation and sugar in beer excels recovery, but I believe it has truly helped get me this far.
Do you have a running club with any co-workers?
Not really. When I got to New Holland, I received some flak for how much I run. I don’t have a car (out of choice) so my commute in the summer is usually 5 miles to work in the morning and 8 miles home. After my 90 days at New Holland, I asked if they’d be willing to sponsor me, whereupon I’d wear (they’d supply) NH gear during training and racing if they’d take care of my entry fee. I had to promise top 3 in each race. Slowly but surely I’ve been trying to bring fitness and health to my co-workers, whether we talk the ethics behind food (I’m predominantly vegetarian/locovore) or encouraging each other to go work out. New Holland even bought us a treadmill for the winter months! I’ve been running on Saturdays with a small group of experienced runners in the area.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in the running world?
Running is a whole different thing being out of college. It requires a ton of maintained motivation to get out and run every morning/evening. It’s a lot more solitary than it was in college. I’m most proud of being able to keep up with it, and continue to develop as a runner. If we’re talking numbers, I think my greatest accomplishments are quite recent with a 1:12 half marathon in both Grand Rapids and Holland this past fall. I think that’s a indisputable reflection that the beer is working.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in the beer world?
Where I am right now – Woodmaster at New Holland Brewing Co!
What are your goals for 2013?
I want to have a great summer of smart mileage under my belt going into the late summer/early fall racing season. My only numerical goal is to hit 70 minutes for 13.1 miles. And perhaps jump in a few collegiate races for old time sake. On the beer side of it…. I want to continue to encourage people to get into the industry. Show non-beer drinkers that there is something out there for everyone. I will to continue to explore a fascination of old and ancient beverage recipes and put them into production for people to get a taste of the past. Finally, I want to bring New Holland into the sustainable/green scene.
What advice would you offer to fellow beer runners?
Beer and running go hand in hand. However, it’s all about balance. Don’t drink yourself silly the night before to the point you can’t get up in the morning for that long run. I’ll reiterate, It’s all about balance! If you run a bit extra that day, have that extra pint or two. I learned at Great River that it hurts a lot more to drink before your run, than after. I’d have track practice everyday after my internship and if I had a few prior, those ladder repeats hurt! Work hard for your beer.
Anything else to add?
I’m a tea aficionado. Aside from beer, I ferment everything make it cheese, kombucha, or vegetables. Vegetable gardens and environmentalism are a few other interests of mine. When I was living in the Quad Cities, my roommate Josh and I dug up our entire yard and planted every vegetable we could get our hands on (from Seedsavers). Almost 320 feet of 10 varieties of corn constituted our side yard! We also raised heritage chickens in our basement just to see if we could… but I didn’t get a single zucchini that year.