A post-run beer holds sacred significance, at least for some. While the carbohydrate and hydration value is debatable, the refreshing taste of an icy cold one and the camaraderie that comes with sharing it with friends while recounting your adventure is undeniable. Wine is another popular beverage pairing, especially when it comes to half marathons, and then there’s always bourbon. There’s truth to working hard and playing hard, and race directors have taken notice. Cheers to that!
We rounded up 10 races that pair fast miles with a range of adult beverages from craft beers, to local wines and yes, Kentucky bourbon. All you have to do is train, run and raise a glass to toast your success.
October 13-14, 2017, Clermont to Lexington, KY
More than 90 percent of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky, and there’s even an official Kentucky Bourbon Trail that connects 10 of the state’s historic distilleries. During The Bourbon Chase, relay teams of 12 runners cover a 200-mile route that goes along the Bourbon trail and through the rolling, bluegrass terrain of Kentucky horse country. Whether or not you stop by distilleries for tours and samples between your running legs is up to you! Know that costumes are encouraged and this year’s theme is a throwback to the 1980s.
October 21, 2017, Randall’s Island Park, New York City
With a noon start time, a waterfront route and fall foliage filled course on Randall’s Island and beer from more than 15 local breweries waiting at the finish, everyone is a winner at this 5K. There’s even live music, lawn games and food vendors at the post-race festival making for a seamless transition from workout to a relaxing afternoon. How relaxing? Last year the brewers served 59,400 ounces of beer! The race’s tag line sums it up: “Because running is better with beer at the finish line!”
March 18, 2018, Portland, OR
Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Shamrock Run by running the 5K, 8K, 15K or half marathon (or participating in the 4K walking event) and then enjoying a cold beer from Widmer Brothers Brewing and hot Shamrock Irish potato soup in the covered Widmer beer garden in Waterfront Park, all while hanging with your friends and listening to live music on stage.
April 14, 2018, Sebastopol, CA
In case a beer after the race isn’t enough for you (and there are plenty!), this one starts with a beer toast as well. And while you’re kicking back after your 10K, enjoy live music and watch brave runners try to out guzzle and out run each other in the Beer Mile Invitational. So you know the times to beat, this year’s male winner ran the Beer Mile in 5:36, while the top woman ran a 7:34. That’s some fast chugging and some fast running!
April 15, 2018, Kansas City, Missouri, to Lawrence, KS
For this 44.4-mile, 10-stage race, relay teams of up to six people and daring solo runners begin their journey in front of a coffee shop (the first “brew”) in Kansas City and finish in Lawrence at a party catered by a local brewery (the second “brew”). Be sure to buy your your food ticket in advance to enjoy tacos, chili, and, of course, beer. In addition to having a good time, runners are contributing to a good cause as Brew to Brew benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
May 20-21, 2018, Chadds Ford, PA
Weekends are sacred, and when you want to add a race, it usually means the rest of the weekend has to be planned around it. But, with a 5K and post-race celebrations on both Saturday and Sunday, participants at this event are able to plan the race around their weekend. A finisher’s glass, one pour of wine, lawn games, live music and food vendors will be waiting for all the finishers at the Penns Woods Winery.
May 12, 2018, Solvang, CA
Running among the rolling hills and vineyards on Mother’s Day weekend is the ideal way to celebrate with your mom (or friends). And, if racing isn’t her thing, she can get a head start on Vineyard visits while you run. Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time for sampling the local spirits after the race, and in your very own finisher’s wine glass to boot!
READ MORE: Trails & Ales—An Ode to the Post-Run Beer
June 2, 2018, Bend, OR
50 miles, 12 running segments, seven breweries and six people per team adds up to the potential for serious fun at the fifth running of this one-day relay beginning at Worthy Brewing and ending at the Bend Brewing Company. The final leg, called the Keg Leg, happens once race vans are safely parked because it includes stops and sampling at seven breweries around town for the entire team. No team? No problem. Individuals are welcome to join in for just the Keg Leg portion of the event.
June 2, 2018, Purcellville, VA
Kick off your summer with a race route through the rolling hills of Virginia’s wine country. The course, which begins and ends and Doukenie Winery, takes runners along peaceful country roads that make it easy to forget you are just an hour outside the hustle of D.C. Once you collect a finisher’s wine class, feel free to conduct your very own post-race wine tasting at the Wine and Music Festival.
June 10, 2018, Milwaukee, WI
Leave it to the home of Milwaukee’s Best, Old Milwaukee and Laverne & Shirley to have a beer run for 42 years in a row! The 1.8-mile course has four mandatory beer stops along the way with beer from local breweries. Participants are welcome to walk, but it is a race, with prizes for the top men and women as well as the top three in each age group, 21 and over only, of course.
July 8, 2018, Dundee, Oregon
During this half marathon, 1,200 runners literally run through and by vineyards—eight in total–with country and gravel roads and plenty of hills for a challenging mix. There are six aid stations on course, so leave the grapes on the vines! All your hard work will be rewarded with a finisher’s medal and wine glass, of course, and a post-race tasting party at the Stoller Family Estate to sample local wines.