Thursday, June 9, 2011

Brew Mile

Run a mile. Drink a beer. Raise some money for a good cause.

Seems like a pretty decent idea, right?

Dude, you have no idea...

I showed up early to help set up. As we put together the finish line, Marty and I guessed that 50, maybe, MAYBE 100 people would turn out for the first Brew Mile. There wasn't a ton of marketing, just an email, some tweets, a little Facebook action. It was pizza oven hot, too. And, it was Wednesday.

By 5:30, 30 minutes before registration officially opened, we had a small table setup to hand out numbers and collect the $5 (proceeds went to Back on My Feet). At 5:31 we had our first participants signed in.

And they kept coming.

By 6:00pm we had a steady stream. By 6:30, the posted start time of the race, the line snaked through the parking lot. We were moving them through as fast as we could, and they just kept coming. It was exhausting, exhilarating, and exciting. Singles, couples, whole families. We ran out of numbers, so I scribbled numbers on Post-It sized slips of paper. And despite the heat, and the up to 15 minute wait, no one complained, everyone was smiling, everyone was having fun.

Finally, at 7:00pm, we registered the last runner. The line was empty. Off to the start we all meandered. The start signal wasn't a cannon, or a gun, or even a countdown through a blow horn. It was just one guy shouting, "Ok... GO!"

Off they went, with giggles and smiles, down the Monon Trail.

I didn't run myself. I'd already violated my "You really shouldn't run for awhile" orders earlier in the day, so I helped at the finish. And I loved it. Every finisher was smiling and/or laughing, including Joann, the 78 year-old woman with her white cotton gloves (?!?) who finished far from last.

It was casual. It was social. It was low key. It was a big fat reminder that running is fun. Even the results include the runner's favorite beer.

After the mile, the crowd lingered. And there was more than the one free beer's worth of lingering. I met a dozen new runner friends before I realized it was 9:30. 9:30!  That's past my curfew on school nights. Not really, but I had to scoot home to release the hound. Still, it was tough to leave. These were my people...

I can't wait until the next Brew Mile.

Good running,