Sunday, May 19, 2019

Last Best Beer Run 5K "Race" Recap

I am not a fan of the 5 or 10K distances for races.  I'm not sure why, but maybe it is because I'm not fast.   I may not like the 5K, but I LOVE craft beer and this was the finale event for Billings Craft Beer Week.  Let's see... Running and Beer.  Yep, I'm in.

I would like to thank Travis Hutchinson who is a local member of our running community, Competitive Timing Guru and the RD (race director) of this event.  I don't know if Travis has ever put on a race before but I'm sure this one had to be a challenge, particularly in a city with open container restrictions.

Packet pick-up for this event was at Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill.  This is not one of my usual hang-outs but they have pretty good food and a lovely atmosphere.  If you haven't been there, I recommend it particularly during the cold season when they have the fireplace going.

A little fun a packet pick-up - Trying to win a prize for posting on Instagram

We did not get great weather.  It rained like crazy all day Friday and turned to snow by Saturday morning.  Thankfully it was more of a drizzly snow that didn't stick and tapered off mostly during the run.  Unfortunately, I think the chill kept away some of the runners and the after party definitely suffered - not drawing in as many non-runners as I am sure the RD would have liked.

Mitch doesn't drink beer and didn't want to run the no-beer 5K so he volunteered to ride his bike as a course sweeper.  Since he was the only cyclist that didn't bag out, he was also the race leader.  He got to be first and last in a race!  How many people can say that?  Thank you, Mitch for being a volunteer.


The concept of the race was to drink *4oz of beer at the start and then hit 5 "aid" stations along the course where you drink a *4oz cup of beer (two at one location) before moving on.  I didn't take my phone on the run because of the weather but this is the beer station at the start, hosted by Yellowstone Valley Brewing.  They served Huckleweizen - not my kind of beer but I was glad they picked something "light."


Other local breweries that were awesome enough to dedicate time and beer were High Plains (Laurel, MT), Montana Brewing Co., Canyon Creek, Thirsty Street, Uberbrew and Carters.  At the finish line there was also the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill and Red Lodge Ales (Red Lodge, MT).  Angry Hanks was supposed to be there but for some reason they did not make it.

I did not experience any issues, but there were some hiccups for the front runners because there needed to be a volunteer or at least some arrows at a couple of spots along the course.  Mitch wasn't able to clearly tell which way to go and neither could the runners which resulted in them taking a somewhat revised route. By the time I got there, there were volunteers at those areas so we were sent the correct direction.

I got precisely 3.11 miles.  I think my finish time was about 32 minutes.  I forgot to turn off my watch right away so I stood around for a minute or so before I looked down at it.  Strava has me with a total running time of 28:36 (9:21/mile) which doesn't include the time I was stopped to drink beer.

Running with beer in my belly was harder than the eggnog mile we did this winter (which wasn't easy either).  As soon as I started running the beer was working its way in to a foam that instantly made me feel full.  I started out at a fast pace because I wanted to push myself.  I didn't look down at my watch at all during the run but based on effort I know I was giving it a good pace.  After the first mile though, I was slowing down.

Overall it was a blast.  My only wish was that I could have run with someone since it was more of a fun run than a competitive event. 

The swag is great.  I love the t-shirt which has a cute design and is soft, comfy material.


At the finish line, we received a *5oz glass and we were allowed to fill it as much as we wanted at the after-party.  I didn't drink very much after the run because my gut was a mess of beer foam already and I needed lunch.  This glass might be one of my favorite finisher awards ever.


I hope the Last Best Beer Run comes back next year.  If it does and I am around that weekend I will definitely be back.

Today is long run day, it is nearly 9:00am, I haven't picked my route and I am still sitting in my pajamas. It is time to get moving.

On another note, Mitch and I both got rejection letters for the Bridger Ridge Run.  It is a long shot to get in the first year on the lottery.  If it works out, perhaps we will volunteer some time this year since we now have nothing going on in August and I've already put in for the time off.


Have a great week!

*Denotes correction from original draft