Beer & Running...My Two Favourite Things!
If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you will know that the two things I write most about are beer, and running. So when I stumbled across a documentary film on YouTube called Beer Runners, of course I was going to watch it.
Directed by Justin Wirtalla, Beer Runners primarily tells the story of David April, a resident of Fishtown, Philadelphia and his running journey. He takes up running following a personal struggle, and during a run in November 2007, his friend Eric Fiedler told him about a study that was conducted by a Spanish professor which stated that beer is just as effective as water at re-hydrating the body after exercise. Intrigued by this prospect, they decided to stop for a beer after their run, and thus the Fishtown Beer Runners were born.
The concept of The Fishtown Beer Runners is pretty simple; Each week the club would run between 3-5 miles, ending up at a different bar, where they would enjoy a couple of beers and most importantly, toast The Professor.
The Fishtown Beer Runners® combine responsible running and consumption in the interest of science. We gather once a week to run three to five miles, and conclude each run at a pub for a beer or two.
The majority of the movie centres around interviews with David, along with personal testimonials of some of the running club members, all inter-cut between various other important events surrounding the club. Initially starting out with just a few members, it's amazing to watch the club grow, exponentially, as the movie goes on. We meet people, who much like David in the beginning, had never really ran before, but are welcomed into the club with open arms. One of the most amazing stories of the film is that of Johanna Goode, who prior to joining the beer runners, was not a runner. She started off small, and within around six months, she ran her first marathon, and in the 2-3 years that followed had completed around 12 marathons/ultra marathons - truly incredible stuff. There are several other stories like that throughout the movie and it's really hard not to watch with a smile on your face when you hear these.
One of the most important points to stress is that the Fishtown Beer Runners are first and foremost a serious running cub, not a drinking club, This is even more evident as the group grows in size, with even seasoned marathon runners signing up. As membership increases, the club starts to give back to the community by holding events, and helping out with local charities, and helping those with disabilities enjoy running to the fullest.
Another aspect of the club that I found extremely interesting was the toast itself. As I mentioned earlier, at the end of each run, the tradition of The Fishtown Beer Runners is to toast the man who started it all - The Professor. Every week without fail, all the members would raise their glass in the air as David would give his speech, and toast The Professor. It's amazing to watch these people get so worked up and excited, toasting a man that they had never met - but purely due to the fact he'd brought them all together.
In 2011, David was invited to Spain by The Professor, whose real name is Manuel Castillo from the University of Granada, to meet those involved with the study and see where it all took place. We soon realise the full scale of this movement, when in 2013 David and several of the club members make the pilgrimage to Spain for the first ever Beer Runners summit and to meet the man who they have been toasting all these years. They are then joined on the streets of Granada by their Spanish beer running counterparts, and it is a truly amazing sight seeing all these people running through the beautiful streets of Spain in the glorious sunshine - it is such a moving scene.
Beer Runners is available to watch in its entirety, FOR FREE on YouTube. Check out the link below.
I absolutely loved this movie - not just because it combines two of my biggest passions, but because it is such an inspiring and moving story. It is also a concept that I can totally get on board with, and one that I'd love to see take shape over here in some way. Sure, we have similar events such as The BrewDog Run, and Run4It's fantastic Takeover Series, but nothing as social, or as frequent as that of the Fishtown Beer Runners.
I can't recommend Beer Runners enough. If you are a runner and a beer drinker then I guarantee you will love it, and even if you are neither of these things, you will at least find some inspiration from these peoples stories. Plus, it's free to watch on YouTube, so what's stopping you?! It is easily the best running movie that I have seen before, and probably one of my favourite documentaries of recent times. All that's left to say is... To the professor! 🍻
Beer Runners gets 5 out of 5 from me.
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