A Crazy Race for Lovers of Craft Beer and Trail Running Comes to Austin April 23rd

The Beer Relay combines beer drinking and trail running for a day of athleticism and camaraderie

2015 Beer Relay participants!

When it comes to the beer drinking and trail running mash-up that is The Beer Relay, there’s an amazing array of reasons (and excuses) to grab your buds, and sign up for The 
Beer Relay, which debuts in Austin on April 23. Form a team, and go for it! After all, how many times this season will you actually be incented to chug a beer before running a scenic 5K loop?


For the uninitiated, The Beer Relay is a “beer drinkin’ and trail runnin’ race" that’s run relay-style with your favorite running buddies over a four hour period. Teams of two or four take turns running the beautiful 5K trail loop.  Runners who choose to drink a 12-ounce can of beer before running their lap get a two-minute deduction off their lap time. The team with the most laps in the least time wins.


We asked a few runners who experienced the first-ever Beer Relay in Lyons, Colorado last year to share their stories.  We’re sure that if you’re even remotely considering participating in Austin’s first-ever Beer Relay run on April 23rd, after you read this article, you’re sure to want to sign up! Here is the link:


When Tara Calihman’s co-worker suggested they put together a team to run The Beer Relay in Lyons, Colorado last year, she had no idea what she was in for. Beer drinking and trail running? That’s a no brainer, she thought. So Tara and her colleague recruited co-workers and formed team, VictorHops, to represent their employer, VictorOps , at the first-ever Beer Relay.


Neil Jessel, another competitor, was recruited by a running buddy. Already avid participants at area brewery runs, Jessel and his friend thought The Beer Relay sounded like the whole package. "Everything a runner could want," Jessel said.  “Athletic exertion, music, mountains, and of course, beer.” So they signed up their team of four and made plans not to win the race, but “to spend the day hanging out with friends and having a good time.

The VictorHops team thought they might be a bit more competitive.  Teammates ranged in age from 22 to 40 years old and all were regular runners, though their mileage, time and running aspirations varied from marathon distance to 5K distance. "Since my co-workers are so good at drinking beer, even though we don’t do well running, we’ll do just fine,” Tara said confidently. In fact, in the weeks before the race, she even thought the team’s beer drinking talents were so fine they had a chance to podium.


While a podium finish wasn’t in the cards for Team VictorHops, all had a great experience at The Beer Relay and left with great memories of a day well spent drinking craft beer and running trails. “It was a fantastic culture-building activity for the company, as well,” Tara explained.  "VictorHops has grown a lot in the last year and we have lots of new employees, but everyone here knows about our Beer Relay experience. We expect to have two teams this year.”


Running laps after chugging a beer was great fun, but what made the day really memorable for Tara and her team, was hanging out with friends, competing as a team, and cheering their co-workers on at the transition area.  "We put up a big shade tent and had a little party,” she explained. “We had yard games and snacks to pass the time between laps. I brought my four-year-old son, and he had a blast, too.”


Tips for aspiring Beer Relay runners?  According to Jessel, it’s not really something you can train for. "You just need to show up and do it!” He exclaimed.  His team is planning to show up and do it again this year!

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