Beer is doing its part to help knit together running communities along the Greensboro-Charlotte corridor.
"Once a month, we pick a brewery and get in touch with them and travel to them," says Brandy Hampton, a member of the New Sarum Brewing Run Club in Salisbury. "Each time we let one of the runners in the group, a different person, choose the brewery that we're going to go to. A couple of the breweries actually have come back and run with us."
Road trip, anyone?
Hampton spoke while enjoying a beer last Sunday at Oden Brewing Co. in Greensboro after a run with members of the Oden Brewing Run Club, with John Teeter coordinating, and the Greensboro Running Club. She was one of about a half-dozen runners who made the trip – New Sarum and Oden are 51 miles apart – and helped form a group of about 30 who went out for a Sunday run.
"We're all drinkers and runners," she said with a laugh. "We like the chance to experience new breweries and meet runners. It's more exciting than just running our normal routes over and over each week."
Beer and running are quite the mix in the Triad. No fewer than 11 breweries, including four in or near downtown Greensboro, host run clubs. A downtown group quenches its post-run thirst at an adjacent brewery, and two taprooms in the Triad host runners.
In fact, you can find a brewery run group in the Triad on five of seven days in a week.
"When it's tough (during a run)" Hampton said, "I just start chanting 'beer, beer beer.' I know that's at the end. I think it's the same type of people, though, that tend to be into breweries and that type of vibe and experience that tend to be active and runners or hikers or bicyclists."
Hampton's friend Jovy Reyes weighed in, too.
"If we don't run after we drink, we're going to get big," Reyes said with a laugh. "It's a really big community. A lot of runners like to drink. So why not combine the two?"
New Sarum has run with Red Oak Run Club, which welcomes runners and customers at Red Oak Brewery's impressive Lager Haus and Biergarten in Whitsett, but also with Southern Strain Brewing Co., High Branch Brewing Co. and Cabarrus Brewing Co. in Concord and Old Armor Beer Co. in Kannapolis.
"There was already a run club there that is more like elite, hard-core runners," Hampton said of New Sarum. "So we try to focus more on encouraging people that may be intimidated by the idea of a run club that have either never run or don't consider themselves a runner because they're slow, or walkers. We are getting a pretty good-sized walk group.
"It's about getting people to come out and try it and be welcomed and encouraged and feel comfortable with us. If they want to learn to run or if they want to train for their first 5K, we'll figure out how to motivate them and stay with them and push them."
Good morning, runners!
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