Jordan Duff's Bottleneck: Running and beer — together at last
Run to Beer Ottawa combines exercise and drinking to surprisingly non-absurd effect
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Anyone who has ever raced to get to a brewery before its closing already knows the basics of Ottawa’s new group, Run To Beer Ottawa. Participants run together, then drink beer together.
It’s much more enjoyable than the reverse.
The first 2017 Ottawa run was held in January at Big Rig Brewery and attracted over 70 runners. The third event saw more than 50 runners brave last weekend’s blizzard, with a snowy run ending at Mill St. Brewpub. It stands to reason that the number will improve as the 613 shakes off its hibernation malaise and as Ottawans look to shed some extra winter layers.
The brilliantly simple concept has, despite winter, already caught on. Run-group leader Ashley Kokelj is no stranger to combining fitness and beer. She is the force behind Yoga On Tap and has led bike tours from Ottawa to Beau’s Oktoberfest. The running/drinking group meets every couple weeks, each route terminating at a brewery partner or craftbeer bar, where the participants can catch their breath and a pint. These runs welcome all level of runner and include pace bunnies. Registration is organized through their Facebook group.
This juxtaposition of health and beer was inspired by Run TO, which was started in Toronto. Back in 2014, Dan Grant tweeted that he was going for a 10-km run, ending at a brewery. Folks spontaneously joined in, Forrest Gump like. The group now counts 2,500 plus members. Grant asked Kokelj if she would head the Ottawa chapter. So far so good!
The movement is all about balance. “People need to exercise to stay healthy, but they also want to drink beer because it's delicious and generally involves fun!” Kokelj says. “The truth is that you can drink and be healthy, it's just a matter of moderation and drinking for the right reasons.”
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