Foot Soldier Run Club turns 5

The Winston-Salem running group, which began in May 2016, will celebrate tonight at Foothills Brewing's Tasting Room.

Foot Soldier Run Club turns 5

A pandemic slowed the Foothills Brewing Foot Soldier Run Club.

Didn't stop it.

Sleet prompted extra caution.

Didn't stop it.

Took Christmas on a Wednesday to do that.

Foothills Brewing's Foot Soldier Run Club.

The Winston-Salem running group, which has gathered on Wednesday nights since May 2016, will mark its fifth anniversary tonight at Foothills' Tasting Room on Kimwell Drive, just south of I-40.

"When I first came in, we all had a common interest in beer, for one, and also in running," says Winston-Salem's Ron Dunsmore, a four-year Foot Soldier. "From that, some friendships really blossomed, which was something I wasn't expecting but was very much happy to have. ... People that were first acquaintances are now really good friends. We don't just meet on Wednesdays. We get together on the weekends. We push each other for our goals, whether it be for running or career goals."

The group, normally 30 to 70 runners on Wednesday nights, will run the usual distances, 1-3 miles, tonight along the streets of the business park tucked away off South Stratford Road. Then they'll grab a Foothills pour and take a seat at a table to talk and laugh and just carry on. Sure, five years, but every Wednesday night is a celebration.

"It's the relationships. Not only the relationships I've built personally, but the relationships I've seen," says Ray Goodrich, Foothills' marketing director. "They do so much together. I see them on Facebook. They do marathons together. They go on vacations together. All these people met at this run club.

"And now there's this little clutch of people who are here every week, who are friends and do stuff together all the time. That's what we wanted to do.”

The pandemic, of course, put a dent in running in 2020. But even as the Tasting Room's doors shuttered for about three months, four runners still drove into the parking lot and logged miles together each week.

"Just because that's how important the Run Club was; this is their thing on Wednesdays," Goodrich says. "It was tough just not seeing them."

While they're committed to getting together, committed enough to run 5Ks and marathons, the Foot Soldiers are all about camaraderie.

"We didn't want a run club that took itself too seriously," Goodrich says. "We love running. We love beer. We wanted like-minded people that love running and that love beer, and I think we got that."

Foothills Brewing Foot Soldier Run Club


Fifth-anniversary celebration


Today; the first runners will set out about 5 p.m., celebration at 6 p.m. All runners are invited.


Foothills Brewing Tasting Room, 3800 Kimwell Dr., Winston-Salem.


Besides running and beer, cupcakes will be served. The evening will include live music plus vendors, including Humane Solution,  a spay-neuter program being supported in May as part of the Foothills Brewing Craft Happiness Project.

Coming up

Foothills Brewing is one of Junction 311 Endurance Sports' partners for the Craft Half Marathon and 5K on June 5 in Winston-Salem. The race is part of the Omega Sports Race Series.

Why beer and running go together

"Running in a lot of ways for a lot of people is a very individual activity. The beer side, especially through breweries, allows that community to really come through. For some people, that's their first introduction to running nowadays. ... This is a way to break down that barrier, break down that hurdle that would be there. It lets your guard down, lets you open up, you're more willing to talk to people. That's a great way of building the sport of running; beer has really helped with that." – Ron Dunsmore, Winston-Salem runner.

"You feel like you earn it, first of all. Secondly, there's actually scientific evidence that beer is really good rehydration after a run. I think it just tastes good. It keeps you going if you've been out there for a while and you're struggling, you start thinking about that nice cold beer when you're done. It gets you to the finish line a little faster." – Ray Goodrich, Foothills Brewing marketing director.


Foot Soldier Run Club on Facebook

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