What if they had a beer run and lots of people came? Believe it or not, this was something I worried about when Bryan Kolesar and Brian Yaeger approached me about holding the 1st Annual SF Beer Week Beer Run last year, as I have this peculiar habit of analyzing ideas in terms of worst case scenarios. What if someone got hit by a car? What if holding a run like this was actually illegal? After a day of contemplation, I realized a bunch of people getting together for a run and drinking beer afterwards was probably not going to lead to a cataclysmic disaster, and so worked together with Brian and Bryan to get the run organized.
Plenty did go wrong. A blizzard hit Philadelphia that week, and Bryan Kolesar never got a plane out of his home town. We publicized the run only a few days before the event, so very few people were actually aware of it. Of the five people who showed up, pretty much all of them got lost at some point running through Golden Gate park, and one guy had to head back to retrieve his girlfriend who was nowhere to be seen. But I think it’s fair to say that despite all that, everyone had a blast, and a beer run turned out not be not such a crazy idea after all.
So this year, we figured with better organization, more people would show up to the 2nd Annual Beer Run. What we hadn’t counted on was a contingent from Team in Training showing up, members of the San Francisco Road Runners coming out, that the run would be the subject of a meet-up , or that one of the runners was already organizing beer runs in San Francisco on her own. About 60 of us took over Social Kitchen that morning, proving once again, the seemingly different activities of beer and running hold some sort of resonance.
Beer has long been recognized as a social lubricant. Running, which involves more hard work than drinking beer, not so much so. But since the time I started running as a socially awkward twelve year old, I certainly recognize and appreciate how the shared effort and experiences from a run brings people together and breaks down social barriers. Unlike other sports requiring memberships, access to special facilities, or expensive equipment, if you lace up your shoes and head outside, you’re a runner. And on that late Sunday morning in San Francisco, 60 of us became less of a stranger to each other.
So for those who ran that morning who might be reading this, all I can say is I hope you’ve felt as fortunate to join the beer run as I did.