My expectations were low for the inaugural Washington Beer Run 5K — especially after I was one of the first three runners to arrive for the race at Redmond’s Marymoor Park last Sunday (Father’s Day, June 19). I am never one of the first people to arrive for a race; most of the time, I’m one of the last.
I tried to get there early because packet pickup was just before the event. Turns out, race organizers had just gotten there as well, and were setting up the tables and tents in front of me. OK, how small of a race will this be? I thought. But soon, more and more people started arriving, and lines began to get longer.
Ultimately, we had a race with about 500 runners and walkers. It turned out to be fun. The weather was sunny and warm, the course was flat, and I had my best 5K time of the year (by my watch). And my bad ankle got through it OK. And the beer afterwards tasted awesome.
Run is part of Washington Brewers Festival
This run was held in conjunction with the Washington Beer Commission’s 11th annual Washington Brewers Festival, a beer garden on steroids featuring 110 breweries and 500 or more craft beers.
More on the beer in a second. Let me just say that my main disappointment was that the race was untimed. No chip on the bib, no chip to wrap around your shoelaces. Perhaps, timing chips will come with the second-annual race.
Had I known it was not a timed race, I might have skipped it. The day before was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon, which I forgot had an 8K (it didn’t in the years 2009-11, when I last did the half-marathon or the full marathon). With major bicycling rides recently, I haven’t trained well enough for a half or full. If I’m in the same situation next year, I will likely do that 8K race.
Still, based on my watch, I finished the Beer Run in 36 minutes, which is my best 5K time this year (yes, it’s been a slow year; my previous best was 37:00 at the Valentine’s Day Dash). This makes sense because it was a completely flat loop within Marymoor Park, with ample running room despite many runners with strollers who passed me. There were bicyclists and runners who weren’t part of the race clogging the course, but this didn’t cause too much of a problem.
Also, the last three-tenths of a mile was a dirt trail to the finish line, but the mud on the trail was hard. I had to watch my footing because of rocks and holes along the way, but it was a short stretch. For most, this would be a fast course.
Running tips, brews sampled, and more
My few tips for this race are:
- Stay to the right, wherever possible: When bicyclists and others decide to use Marymoor Park, they don’t care too much if a race is going on. Best move is to accommodate them.
- Warm up well: Again, this is a flat course, and one where you could get a PR. Break a sweat before the race to get ready.
- Watch your footing on the dirt trail section: There are just some holes, puddles and sharp, protruding rocks to avoid.
- Plan to sample a few beers: The 2016 fee for this race was $60, which is steep for a normal run. But this fee includes a ticket to the Brewers Festival, were breweries big and small from around the state are represented. You get to try as many as nine different brews before you exhaust the race fee. So try a couple; if you have a designated driver, you can try more.
I walked over to the Brewers Festival following the race, and sampled the Landwink IPA from Woodinville’s Triplehorn Brewing and the La Raza Mexican Lager from Farmstrong Brewing of Mount Vernon. Both were light beers and just right for my taste. I was dehydrated and thirsty, and they went down fast. But I had to drive home by myself, so I decided to stop drinking at that point.
A Seattle band called WingsNThings played Beatles and Wings hits as people made their way around the different brewers’ booths for samples. I didn’t stick around long enough to see how wild the party got. But it was a good time and a decent, challenging run — my seventh road race this year and my 196th overall.
My teammates from Allytics will do this race next year; I’ll make sure of that.
What’s next for me? Not sure. I’m looking for road races to do in July that don’t conflict with my niece’s wedding and other plans, as well as another good bicycle ride.
Thanks for reading! Till next time.