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Home brews and marathons

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Beer Runner Marty (left) after his first marathon with Mike Collins and Joe Phillips

Beer Runner Marty (left) after his first marathon with Mike Collins and Joe Phillips

A few years ago, Marty Burian was 60 pounds heavier and just walking up a flight of stairs left him sweating and out of breath.

Today he is a sub 4-hour marathoner, an avid home brewer and he inspires countless people with his participation in the group Fit Milwaukee, though he vehemently deflects all credit for the latter to founders Tracey Gessner and Anne Munkwitz.

“It sounds cliche,” he says, “but I believe it to be 100% true: If I can do it, ANYBODY can do it.”

Read on to find out how he got in shape, what beers he’s looking forward to brewing this fall, and his favorite home brew of all time.

What will you be drinking this fall? Any homebrew specials?

As the weather turns colder, my beer tastes go darker. Looking forward to enjoying many Oktoberfests, pumpkin beers, winter spices and dark, heavy stouts. The kinds of beers you can enjoy in front of a roaring fire. Right now, I’ve got a Smashing Pumpkin Ale in the secondary fermenter with plans to bottle it in about a week. Should be ready to drink right around Halloween and, if it lasts long enough, I plan to have one with my pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner.

Individually, you’ve also accomplished a lot over the past year. What have you been most proud of, and how have you been successful?

I’m most proud of completing my first marathon. Proving to myself that I could muster the motivation, perserverance, time commitment and actual training required for a marathon was a really big deal. My success in that marathon was thanks in no small part to my wife (for putting up with all of my running), my running buddies (for making some of those long runs fly by) and Hal Higdon (for his Novice marathon program).

How did you start the Virtual Running Buddy on the Fit Milwaukee blog?

Whenever I ran with a group of people, someone (myself included) was always asking questions about training, injuries, etc. We would discuss what we thought was the “right” answer, but that wasn’t enough for me. Invariably, I’d find myself online after group runs researching the topics of the day. At the next group run, I would share my findings which then tended to bring up additional questions. At some point, I realized that not only did I really enjoy doing the research, but that there was a large pool of runners in Milwaukee that might be interested in getting in on the question/answer sessions. So, it’s evolved into a weekly Thursday feature on Fit Milwaukee.

How can someone recruit you as a Virtual Running Buddy?

Simple: Send a question to marty@fitmilwaukee.com and I’ll answer it as quickly and completely as possible. When new questions/answers are posted, add more info or critiques in the comments. More than anything, the CONVERSATION is what is valuable. I’m just some guy with a knack for Google searches and an interest in running. Nothing I say should be taken as fact, but merely an opinion given as a method to help generate discusson on the topic.

Anything else to add?

Here is fellow Beer Runner Mike Collins and I enjoying one of the homebrew Dry Irish Stouts (Mike raved about how good it was) after an 18 mile training run. This Dry Irish Stout, made a little differently, is the best homebrew I’ve made to date. It’s my next homebrew on tap.


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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