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Fishtown Beer Runners: America's Coolest Running Club

by Robin Shreeves on Mar 29, 2013 in Culture
Fishtown Beer Runners: America's Coolest Running Club

The beer might be the hook that gets people lacing up to join Fishtown Beer Runners, but it’s community that keep members coming to the weekly runs that end at a local bar or brewery.

David April, who founded the club in 2007 with friend Eric Fiedler, says the club is “really not about running or beer. It’s more about the people.” The members meet on Thursday evenings and run to a designated local watering hole. The local part is important.

Many of the club’s members are craft beer enthusiasts, and they like to support the local bars that serve up fine craft beers. You won’t find the group running to a chain restaurant anytime soon. Infusing money into the local economy is just one of the ways this club has found to serve the community of Philadelphia.

Many of the members do individual charity runs to raise money for organizations, but they also band together to do non-run related charitable work. Members participate in group projects like sorting and packing food at Philabundance to help the city’s hungry and fundraise for Back on My Feet, a running club for homeless people that teaches them discipline that can help them reach their personal goals.

But, the club still is a little bit about the beer. Why beer after strenuous exercise? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?

On the contrary, drinking beer after running is supported by science. A study, conducted by Professor Manuel J. Castillo of the University of Granada, compared how well beer hydrated a person after exercise compared to water. One of the study’s conclusions was that “in healthy, young adults, beer in moderate amounts is as effective as water for rehydration and recovery after exercise.” You’ll find the group toasting “The Professor,” with beer of course, every week after their run.

How many people have accepted the professor’s conclusion and literally run with it?

“On any given night,” says April, “we’ll have 65-75 people rolling with us. Our highest night has been over 100.” It’s not just Philadelphians who run. People in town for business and vacation find the group through searching online and join them for an evening.

Chris McDougall, author of the New York Times bestseller Born to Run, has even joined them. McDougall is considered a rock star among runners. After running with the group, he posted on his blog that Fishtown Beer Runners is “America’s coolest running club.”

The club is open to runners with any level of experience. It’s often an outlet for people who are new to the city to meet others with common interests, and while it’s certainly not a singles or dating group, the first beer runner baby from a couple who met in the club is due to be born soon.

The club meets at 7 PM sharp at 2346 E. Susquehanna Ave. in Fishtown each Thursday evening to run to their destination. Visit the website for a list of Fishtown Beer Runners upcoming runs.

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