Tacoma Runners is a well-known running club in Tacoma that first entered my radar about 4 years ago, when I was a new runner. The group organizes Thursday Night Beer Runs, which essentially take over a different bar every week to act as a start- and end-point for a leisurely 3-mile run. There’s usually a lot of tippling at the end of the run, too (hence the name of the event).
I wrote about Tacoma Runners several months ago and bemoaned the fact I hadn’t attended a Thursday Night Beer Run for years. Months passed after that post and, as much as I tried to make it work, I couldn’t fit one of the beer runs into my schedule. That is until last week, when Tacoma Runners announced on Facebook that it was hosting a Wednesday (!) Beer Run with REI, the outdoor equipment and clothing retailer, at one of my favorite pubs, the Parkway Tavern. Fortunately, the Wednesday scheduling decision worked well for my calendar, so my sister-in-law (I call her Sil) and I decided to meet up.
We met a bit before 6:30 p.m., the official start time of the event. When we showed up at the Parkway, there were already dozens of runners in neon clothing milling around, as well as a wood-paneled trailer with “REI” emblazoned on it.
At 6:30, Derek, one of the fearless leaders of Tacoma Runners, welcomed everyone, thanked REI for partnering with the runners, and announced the course. I knew in advance what the course profile would look like, and it wasn’t pretty. There was some grumbling in the crowd, as well as some semi-smug laughter from the more hardcore runners in the group.
A few minutes later we were off, running through the streets of the North End of Tacoma. I ran with Sil and tried to take it easy since I’d only recently returned to running. Plus it was evening and pretty warm, and I’m used to running on cool mornings. So, yeah, I’m pretty much a wimp.
We enjoyed some beautiful views before running through Garfield Park and a small section of Garfield Gulch, where I asked Sil to take an action shot of me. She did a great job, but the picture looks crappy because of the subject.
We were then spat back out onto the city streets, where we enjoyed a little downhill action before facing the hellish incline known as 29th Street Hill.
I already knew before I started running that evening that I wouldn’t run up the entire hill–all 5 block of steep, unmerciful grade of it. Running uphill aggravates hip flexor strains and I avoid this hill and hills as steep as it on regular runs, so I wasn’t about I to start running up it right after coming back from injury. Sil and I ran the first block and a half before we decided to walk. Truthfully, walking up that hill is a workout in itself.
Once that hell was over, we ran through more North End neighborhoods before looping back to the Parkway Tavern. We returned to a long line that was queued up for REI swag like water bottles and sunglasses. We were rewarded with a free beer token courtesy of REI (score!) as we waited in line.
The Parkway was packed with runners and non-runners (including my husband, who had showed up just to socialize) after the run.
I heard after the fact that around 150 runners were at the beer run, which exceeded Tacoma Runners and REI’s expectations. I would have loved to stick around longer but I had another event to attend. I was disappointed to leave, but know for sure I will attend another Tacoma Runners event soon. They’re too much fun to miss.