If there is one thing that goes together like peas and carrots, it is runners and beer. This past weekend, the 2014 Ottawa Beer Run occured and much fun was had by over 600 participants. The week before, inStride Events held a Beer run in Toronto and it was fun to see all the pictures coming through instagram and twitter. inStride Events are the same group of people that organize the Manotick Miler, along with a few other events in the Ottawa area. They are very quickly becoming one of the leading event organizers in Ottawa. Anyways, I asked to be a ‘Beer Bunny’ for the event, which involved running with 150 runners, keeping them on course and making sure we stuck to a fairly tight timeline. It was a fairly easy and really fun job. The race was simple – run 13.5KM and stop at 5 local breweries/brew pubs on the way. The Ottawa Beer Run featured: Big Rig, Kichesippi Breweries, Clocktower Brew Pub, Beyond the Pale Brewery, and Mill Street Pub
I participated in Wave 3, which started at 1pm. We were told to arrive at 12:40pm at Big Rig Breweries so that we could have a sample of their beer before heading off. Because the first section of the course was 5K long in the searing heat, I only had a small sample of the Big Rig Rideau Red.
Soon we were off. This was a race where the roads were not closed, so we mostly ran on sidewalks and local paths. It was 26C when we left and there was next to no shade. One of the other beer bunnies and I set forth with the lead pack and were averaging maybe 5:30/km – nothing too fast. We got to Kichesippi and were practically melting. That beer was pretty refreshing! They also had some chips on offer which also tasted amazing, even though it was just Ruffles. While there, I met a few people – including Don, one of my Ottawa-twitter friends. After about 20 minutes, we were off to Clocktower.
The run to Clocktower was super short and involved running in some neighbourhoods. There were a few people out and about cheering us on. We went past a garage sale in Westboro, where a woman was ringing some bells to cheer us on. They had some sort of giant bear for sale, and we thought about buying it to bring it along (just kidding). Clocktower is my favorite brew pub of all time, and home to my beloved pumpkin ale. Of course, pumpkin ale was available to sample. They also had Kolsch available and the pub said to take both, so I did! They also had yummy rye sandwiches. I know I am a bit biased, but Clocktower was definitely the best stop!
The next stop was Beyond the Pale which is just before Chinatown near the O-Train route. We had to run down Westboro, which we thought might be a bit nuts (it is a VERY popular shopping/dining area), but it wasn’t too bad. I was with the middle of the pack and ran with Don, his friend and a few others. We all chatted the entire time and pointed out other places we could stop at. Of course, Suzy Q donuts was on the way and if there wasn’t a line, I think Don was seriously going to get some donuts! Next year that has to be a stop! Beyond the Pale is in a little industrial plaza and they had a little patio set up for us, which included some fresh bread by Art is in Bakery, which is located next door. At this stop, we ran into Duffman – who was apparently in Wave 1, but was still at Beyond the Pale when we got there. They gave us a reasonable sized sample of one of their brews (Rye Guy, I think?), but could get a refill if we wanted to. For all the stops, other than Clocktower, I just had one sample – but some people were getting more, and most breweries were very generous.
The last stop on our running tour was Mill Street, which is located by the War Museum. We ran along the O-Train corridor path and the river path – wow! I think I found another place to run. Definitely a nice little path in this section of Ottawa. Mill Street was the end, so we received our bottle-opener medals and a small sample of Mill Streets Organic Ale. I was only at Mill Street for a brief time, because I had to get home – but it seemed like the pub was packed with runners from all the waves. I’m not sure if they had any food available – but lots of people were ordering from the menu and it looked good! I even saw one of my previous VP’s there.
After the run, I booked it to the OC-transpo where I’m sure all the people on the bus appreciated me standing there all sweaty.
The run cost $60 and is WELL worth it. Considering you will spend at least $45 on a regular ol’ 5K race, for $60, you get to run, still get all the race goodies (t-shirt, medal) AND BEER. I know some people are concerned about the whole beer+running thing and their tummies, but in all honesty, it wasn’t bad. If I had more than one sample, it may have been interesting, but I did not feel like losing my cookies at all – even with the heat. Even though I went alone to this event, I talked to quite a few people and had tons of fun. I’m looking forward to Beer Run 2015 and hope that a few other friends join in for next year!
Thanks again to inStride for allowing me to volunteer at another inStride Race! For those who are interested for 2015 – keep checking their twitter page. This event sells out rather quickly!