RunTOBeer post-run

I’m a beer writer-turned-runner who somehow managed to combine two things I love into a massively popular series called Run-TO-Beer. We now have 2,600 subscribers in Toronto and just started an Ottawa chapter in January that already boasts more than 300.

Although we have a loyal group of regulars, we don’t consider ourselves a “run crew.” There’s no membership required to run with us. Instead, we welcome solo runners and members from the various crews and clubs who want to add something different to their run routine.

We go all over the city, exploring the outstanding local breweries that add so much interesting character (and flavour) to our neighbourhoods.

When I’m not leading Run-TO-Beer, I’m also the Toronto manager for City Running Tours and a certified beer sommelier.

Dan Grant with AlanBrookes and Lanni Marchant

Run-TO-Beer started three years ago, in March of 2014. It all began when I tweeted my intention to run to a local brewery and invited anyone who might want to join me. When the fateful day arrived, it was miserable outside and only one brave soul—some random stranger named Tej—showed up. Well, Tej happened to be a really great guy with a lot of drive and ideas. We started Run-TO-Beer together.

RunTOBeer high-fives
Photo courtesy Canada Running Series/Inge Johnson

Although we have plenty of excellent runners in our group (can I namedrop Lanni Marchant and Matt Loiselle here? We love when they join us!) our events are decidedly, emphatically non-competitive.

Instead of starting together, we focus on ending together—with beer.

So, basically, a 10K crew sets out at a specified time. We run to where the 5K runners are waiting. Ten to 15 minutes later, we’re picking up the 3K runners and shortly afterwards we’re all drinking beer together.

Don’t treat our events as races. We always end our runs with a huge high-five tunnel before proceeding inside, so getting there faster won’t get you inside any earlier. There’s no advantage to rushing ahead or flirting with traffic.

RunTOBeer in a snow storm
Photo courtesy Black Toe Running/Michael Kazimierczuk

I love free community fitness because there’s no better way to inspire people to explore their city. I get so much positive feedback from runners who’ve fallen in love with local craft breweries they didn’t know existed. They’ve experienced the character of new neighbourhoods and realized how small this city can be when you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. If you make fitness accessible and interesting, everybody benefits.

Author: Dan Grant, co-founder of Run-TO-Beer.

Check out the Run-TO-Beer page on Svveat for the club’s social links and upcoming workouts.

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