Beer & Running - What's Not to Like?
As much as I love beer, I also love running. So when the chance arose to combine the two into one event - the BrewDog Summer Run 2018, it was one I couldn't pass up.
For those who are unaware of it, the BrewDog Run has been a yearly event since December 2015 and is now in it's sixth occurrence. Organised by Aberdeen running group The Fit Like Joggers, the BrewDog Run is a 21 mile run that begins at BrewDog Castlegate and ends at DogTap in Ellon.
Those of you who know me will know that I'm a keen runner, and have now completed a few half marathons and one 15 mile run earlier this year. But a 21 mile run seemed like quite a daunting task, especially in the height of summer. Thankfully though, this isn't classed as a "race", and more of a social fun run. Participants run in groups, at a slower pace where conversation is encouraged with an estimated finishing time of 3-1/2 - 4 hours.
We had to meet at BrewDog Castlegate at 10.00am on Saturday (09/06/18) to drop off any bags, get watered and for our pre-run briefing - I was slightly astonished at this point to see the number of people with pints in their hands before the run! Not feeling that brave, I decided to stick to water at this point. Thankfully the running Gods were kind enough to bless us with clouds! Whilst it was still quite warm, there was no sign of the sun in the sky - which was a welcome sight.
After a pre-run team photo, we set off through town, making our way past Mounthooly roundabout, along Great Northern Road, Auchmill Road in the direction of Dyce. This initial leg of the run slightly eased any pre-run worries I was having; we were taking it at a nice slow pace due to running through town, and I also quickly got talking to a couple of other runners who were very friendly and certainly made it more enjoyable.
After 6.3 miles, we arrived at the Spider's Web in Dyce. This gave us a chance to regroup and grab a quick refreshment. Again - I was shocked to see people indulging in more beer at this point! I always knew there was a beer stop at 10 miles - which I was even sceptical about to begin with, but after seeing all these seasoned runners enjoying a beer (or two) by this point...I would definitely be indulging at the beer stop.
After another group photo, and some light heckling and jeers from a group of football fans, we then made our way down towards the station and out on to the old railway line on the next leg of our run.
This was my first time out running on the old railway line, and what a difference it was to running through the city. It was a relief to no longer be dodging pedestrians, lampposts and stopping at traffic lights. This, in turn, allowed us to pick up the pace slightly and press on towards the beer stop. David (Scott, one of the main organisers of the event) was really helpful throughout the run - often slowing his pace down to check on other runners, taking the time to run alongside them for a bit, and even offering out his drinks.
At around the 10 mile mark, just outside Newmachar, the "refreshment" point was a welcome sight. Stocked with Elvis Juice, Punk IPA, water, chocolate & Haribo - not to forget the music, this was exactly what we needed at this point in the run! The beer went down a treat, the music made for a great atmosphere and gave everyone the chance to catch up and take a well-earned rest.
After we were all suitably refreshed, we set off on the final leg of the run - only 11 miles to go! We continued along the old railway line at a decent pace, and after a few miles I'd dropped off slightly from my original running partners - but thankfully I found others who were just as friendly to run with for a few more miles.
Unfortunately for me, my feet had other ideas and they started to really hurt at around the 16 mile mark. This caused me to slow down significantly, to the point of having to alternate between running and walking for a while. This also, unfortunately, left me running on my own; somewhere between the groups at the front, and the groups further behind - this turned out to be quite mentally draining, as well as physically.
Despite the setbacks, I managed to pull myself through it, and after a brief diversion (I got lost...Google Maps to the rescue!) in Ellon, I made it to DogTap. Seeing the brewery in the distance as I made my way along the final stretch was a glorious sight! Greeted with congratulations and smiles, I was handed my medal & goody bag, which contained a rather awesome finishers t-shirt - I headed inside to enjoy some of the macaroni that was provided by DogTap, and then freshen myself up. We were then ready to enjoy some much-needed beer(s) in the sun - which had thankfully decided to appear at just the right time! After a few beers and some chatting, a few of us made our way to the park & ride and got on the bus back to Aberdeen...
As a personal highlight for me, not only was it an extremely enjoyable run overall, but it was also the furthest distance I've ever run - so I did feel a great sense of achievement when I reached the end. It's great to keep pushing myself to go further, and maybe soon I'll tackle the last five miles and get a marathon under my belt...
I'd like to end by saying thanks to David Scott and everyone behind the scenes involved in organising the event and helping out on the day. I had a great day, met some friendly people, and as challenging as I found the final few miles - I think it is definitely my most enjoyable run to date. Also, a massive well done to those of you who went out running the next day - especially those mad enough to run a marathon, it is inspiring to see!
Hopefully this event continues to grow, and it's safe to say I'm looking forward to the next one already.