Run Wild Missoula Beer Runs


“How did these Beer Runs start?” That’s a question I’ve been asked many times in the past year, the truth is I’m not too sure, and I’m the guy most responsible for starting these monthly runs in the first place.

As I recall Beer Runs got their start a few weeks before the 2010 Missoula Marathon, a bunch of us had gathered on a warm Wednesday evening at the North Side Kettle House Brewery for the annual UNite fundraiser night for Run Wild Missoula. Now here’s where my memory gets a bit fuzzy, and before you say anything, I wasn’t drunk — they only allow you to purchase three glasses of beer at the Kettle House.

I think I was standing next to Eva, our Executive Director, and was babbling something about the great turn out for the UNite, and how Run Wild needs to do more social stuff like this, a chance for members to get together, tell some lies, pick on each other, and do a bit of bonding. Eva turns to me and says something to the effect of “That’s a great idea, why don’t you plan something for next month?”

And just like that I went from being the big picture/idea guy, to the flesh-out-the-details and make-it-happen guy. I spent a few minutes thinking about what it would take to get a bunch of runners to show up to a social event. Then I flashed back to one of my favorite John Lee Hooker albums, Free Beer and Chicken. Now I knew we couldn’t buy beer for everyone in the club, but what if we met up for a group run and finished where we could sit together for a while and enjoy a beer or some other beverage?

I put some serious thought into the logistics and planning of an event of such magnitude and drew up a plan: last Wednesday of the month, meet at a bar, pick a route that will take us about five miles, and hope I’m not the only one that shows up.

So I had my date, July 28, 2010, decided the Silver Dollar on Railroad Street would make for a nice place to meet before we head up Waterworks Hill.  I was hoping five or ten people would show up for the first beer run. Instead, we had about thirty show up, run or walk the trails in the North Hills, and meet for beverages afterwards.

By my math we’ve had 17 beer runs, our usual monthly events, and two Special Edition Beer Runs, one with Caballo Blanco and the Missoula Marathon Beer Run with Jeff Galloway. We’ve run in the heat, snow, rain, wind and on perfect days, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving at Double Front Chicken, Mardi Gras with Cajun Food at Charlie B’s, Halloween by running through the cemeteries on the North Side of Missoula, and run through neighborhoods filled with holiday lights on the south side of Missoula.

But the best part of the Beer Runs is getting to know more of the folks that run here in Missoula, and a few folks that join in on the runs as they pass through town. Most of the time during group runs I wind up running with the people that are about my pace and don’t get to spend much time with the folks that are faster or slower than my pace. With a beer run, we all wind up in the same spot at the end and get a chance to talk.  That’s the fun part. I always tell people that they don’t have to show up for the run part of the Beer Run, but we really want them to join us at the finish.

If you want to join us on our next Beer Run we will be meeting a bit before 6:00 pm on Wednesday, October 26 at the brand new Missoula Draught Works, 915 Toole Street.

Like this blog?  Chances are you’ll also like reading these:  Missoula All Women’s Diva Day 5 K Run, Missoula Celebrates Runner Friendly Community Designation,  Missoula Marathon 2011 – Bragging Rights to #5, Missoula Running Buddies, and When do you run?  Be sure to leave comments in the Facebook Comment box below, and click the +1 button too–it’ll bring Missoula Marathon runners luck!

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In his day job Pat Cross is a wildland firefighter, the rest of the time he runs, fly fishes, volunteers at races and serves as the Chancellor of Libations for the monthly Beer Runs.