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Run, Drink and Be Merry

By Staff | Mar 26, 2008

By Julie Black, iPlayOutside.com

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get outside and exercise … look no further my friends. The long standing U.S. tradition of beer and runners dates back to the oldest marathon in America, The Boston Marathon. Rumor has it that for years the Eliot Lounge was to award every marathon finisher a complementary brew. Even Runner’s World magazine touted the health benefits of the runner’s pint in 2008. St. Patty’s Day has come and the green beer runs have gone, but there are a slew of suds ahead this racing season. Not pub crawls mind you, but real races with real causes. And yes, they end in beer. These gems are not as rare as you might think. Many beer runs in the area have been around for more than 10 years, but of course, that’s not their main focus. It’s all in good fun and proceeds go to local community charities. To dispel a misconception, you don’t have to be an avid racer to participate in a 5k (3.1 miles) run and walk. You just need a pair of sneakers and $10 to $20 to donate. Walk, jog, run or trot your way to the finish line and a frosty beverage. Follow this guide to decide which area run/walk races are for you. Be sure to check the race details for more information and pre-register to save money. Here’s the “Difficulty Level” break-down: – Off the Couch: short distance, walk or jog, take your time – Bit o’ Training: medium distance, run or walk at least 2 weeks before you do it – Hard-Core: long distance, hilly and tough, need months of training

Northern West Virginia: The 2008 Morgantown Area Grand Prix Series (MAGP) Presented by Dynamic Physical Therapy presents two long-standing summer runs and walks that end in beer. www.iplayoutside.com/magp

Twilight 5-Mile Run and 3-Mile Walk — July 11, 7 pm, Morgantown, W.Va. This 8-year old event is the sixth race in the MAGP Endurance Series. Racers trek a short ways through town and then head out along the paved, flat Caperton rail-trail. Proceeds go to a local scholarship. Dinner and kegs of local micro-brew at the West Virginia Brewing Company are covered by the entry fee. Pub race shirts are really well done. It’s easy to wind up staying a few hours for the live Brew Pub music after downing some Appalachian Ales. Difficulty Level = Run takes a Bit o’ Training, but the walk is Off the Couch; www.iplayoutside.com/Events/2008/07/10820.html

Gene’s Run For Special Olympics — August 3, evening, Morgantown, W.Va. At the ripe age of 22, Gene’s Run is the 7th race in the MAGP Endurance Series. This 4-miler features a run and walk through South Park. Proceeds go to the W.Va. Special Olympics. Gene’s Place has served hot dogs and cold beer for over 50 years, and their race is no different. Spend some time in this real neighborhood bar to savor its true flavor. Difficulty Level = Walk is Off the Couch, Run is a Bit o’ Training (It’s a hot 4-miles in August.); www.iplayoutside.com/Events/2008/08/10821.html

Southern WV: ACE New River Gorge-ous Trail Run — Saturday, October 25, 11 a.m., Oak Hill, W.Va. Around Oktoberfest time, ACE Adventure Center hosts this race at their outdoor resort. You have the option of doing a 13.2 or 7.5-mile run, or a 4.5-mile walk. The short and long runs are part of the Mountain State Trail Run Series. Located in the New River Gorge area, Ace is the place to enjoy whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking and more. The free post-race beer at the Lost Paddle Bar and Grill is refreshing and the free after race burritos are worth the trip alone. Don’t forget the awesome prize table too! Difficulty Level = Walk is Off the Couch to a Bit o’ Training. Runs are Hard Core, but fun. www.iplayoutside.com/Events/2008/10/10889.html

If races are not your thing, the Hash House Harriers club may be for you. Founded in 1938, the international association boasts of over 1,800 clubs worldwide. Run and drink twice a month with these local “Drinking Clubs with a Running Problem.” West Virginia Hash House Harriers: Fairmont-Morgantown; sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/WVHHH/