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Beards unite beer and running

CATEGORIES: Beer Editor   Beer Runner  

Bearded ultra runner Timothy Olson sets the Western States 100 record | Photo by irunfar

I’ve often written about traits that are shared by both running and beer people, such as happiness and creativity.

Now there is another one to add to the list: Beards.

A news article sent to me by my friend Mandi made me think of this connection. The story was about a brewer at Rogue who is growing a yeast strain plucked from his beard. I’m not sure how that exactly works, but it appears to be real and not an episode of Portlandia.

I read this right after a visit to Lakefront Brewery, where I saw a bearded individual who may or may not have been a brewer. It clicked for me then that a lot of beer geeks or brewers tend to have big, bushy beards.

I have no idea if this is more or less than the general population, but intuitively it seems like brewers and beer geeks like beards.  Think Stone Brewing’s Greg Koch or two out of three people in Apex, NC.

There’s even a fake beard contraption on the market that turns out to be a beer-dispensing system.

Just as a large percentage of beer geeks seem to be bearded, so do a lot of running geeks. At least the male population, anyway.

Ultra runner Ian Sharman actually wrote a blog post about this topic and posed the question “Do ultra beards make you run faster?” He cited some of the most successful ultra runners today who happen to have beards.

The pinacle of bearded runners may have been reached this weekend as Timothy Olson crushed the Western States 100 record by finishing the grueling race in 14:46. His long, flowing locks and Jesus-like beard did not seem to slow him down a bit.

Also, one of the most successful U.S. marathoners is a man named Dick Beardsley. That can’t just be a coincidence.

I clearly have no hard data and only sketchy anecdotes to back my assertion that both beer and running geeks gravitate toward beards. But if this is truly the case, my theory is that both place a high value on self expression and/or lack a need to hew to society’s mainstream conventions like being clean-shaven. And the more you’re into hardcore beer or running culture, the greater the likelihood of being bearded.

Or maybe when you’re just that into beer and running, you can’t be bothered to shave.


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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