Jogging and consuming alcohol don’t seem like complementary activities, yet every year race organizers combine the two to create a cottage industry in which our love for fitness rubs up against our love for a good drink. Whether you’re into craft beer and 10Ks or Margaritas and marathons, there’s a race out there for you. Month to month, these are the 12 best boozy races in the United States.
January: Key West Half Marathon & 5K (Key West, Fla.)
This fun run in the Florida Keys has been going strong for 22 years. Roughly 4,500 people attend, many of whom take advantage of the drinks provided by Shipyard Brewing Co. and Ice Pik Vodka. The race also includes musical entertainment and seafood.
February: Aloha Beer Run (Honolulu)
Organized by the Brewery Running Series, this run/walk begins at Aloha Beer Co. and weaves around the streets of Honolulu. Participants enjoy a craft brew from Aloha Beer Co. and take home gear from the Brewery Running Series. Music, food and knick-knacks from local vendors are a few extra things that make this scenic run spectacular.
March: St. Pat’s Get to the Green (Columbia, S.C.)
St. Patrick's Day is, among other things, a celebration of ale and its ilk. March is also the time when people generally come out of winter hibernation to get some exercise. Here’s an opportunity to do both. St. Pat’s Get to the Green welcomes more than 2,500 participants with a 10K, 5K and 1-mile Family Fun Run during which joggers chase rainbows in pursuit of a pot of gold. Race registration includes a T-shirt, post-race refreshments and entry to the St. Pat’s in Five Points festival.
April: Velvet Hammer 5K (Dallas)
Boozy races don’t get any easier than this. Organizers of the Velvet Hammer lure runners with three beers, a finisher glass, a medal and a Brooks Running shirt. More than 2,000 people are estimated to attend this year’s 5K. We predict that not one of them will break the record for the fastest mile.
May: Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon, 10K & 5K (Portland, Ore.)
Portland is one of the hippest cocktail spots in the country, known for its discerning bartenders and drinkers. The city also knows how to throw a fiesta with the best of them. For more than a decade, the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon, 10K & 5K has attracted more than 2,000 participants from across the region. Free beer, cider, food and a Cinco de Mayo-themed party accompany the race.
June: Brewfest 5K/10K (San Mateo, Calif.)
Just 20 miles south of San Francisco, this small 5K and 10K is sponsored by City Beer Runs, which organizes similar events throughout the region. The top three male and female winners win growlers that can be filled up at one of the local breweries on hand.
July: Hemingway 5K/Sunset Run & Paddleboard Race (Key West, Fla.)
In honor of America’s legendary drinker and author, Key West hosts a Papa-themed event that includes paddleboard races and a sunset 5K that winds past Hemingway landmarks like his home and museum. Needless to say, the whole thing ends with a Daiquiri-fueled party overlooking the ocean.
August: Thirsty 13 Half Marathon (Durango, Colo.)
You don’t have to wait until the powder falls to enjoy the outdoors in Colorado. The Thirsty 13 Half Marathon is part of the San Juan Brewfest, an event that attracts 50 breweries to the picturesque mountain town of Durango. And the finish line is right near a huge beer garden, an incentive to go the distance.
September: Mankato Beer Run (Mankato, Minn.)
Minnesotans love their beer all year long but perhaps most in fall. As the seasons change, they enjoy the outdoors while preparing for the brutal winter ahead. The Mankato Beer Run gives runners two options: Go the full five kilometers or get straight to the point with a .05K (or 54 yards) dash. No matter which you choose, pints are flowing post-race at local breweries and restaurants.
October: EVL Half Marathon & 5K (Ellicottville, N.Y.)
It’s hard to be spooky while running your ass off, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. An hour south of Buffalo, the EVL Half Marathon & 5K in Ellicottville lures 2,000 witches, ghosts and goblins to its Halloween-themed event, which culminates in a post-race bash at Ellicottville Brewing Co.
November: Cleveland Beer Mile (Cleveland)
If you can’t muster the energy for a 5K but still want to get in on the boozy race action, Ohio has the event for you. The Cleveland Beer Mile is just that, a 5,280-foot course of solo, team or relay running attended by the finest of the city’s fast-growing craft brewery scene. Going the distance has never been easier.
December: Santa Will Run for Beer (Bethlehem, Pa.)
You’re not the only one who thinks that Old St. Nick can stand to lose a few pounds. At the Santa Will Run for Beer race, hundreds of joggers don the red and white for a 5K with beers provided by Weyerbacher Brewing. The course works in a dozen stops for sightseeing around oh little town of Bethlehem.