The upcoming Oregon WinterFest, slated for Feb. 12-14, offers a Royal Run on Sunday in Bend. The event used to be poker-themed, but organizers say they may shake things up this year. For $30, racers get entry to the run, admission to all three days of the event and a post-run beverage. Photo courtesy of Lay It Out
By Dustin Gouker
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Rarely do you find a running event in Central Oregon that doesn’t have some tie-in to all the craft beers you can find in Bend and beyond.
The upcoming Oregon WinterFest, slated for Feb. 12-14, is no different, with the Royal Run planned for Sunday during the three-day spectacle.
WinterFest is a family-friendly event filled with music, performances, vendors and more. But the celebration of winter in Bend is also used as a great excuse to drink beer outside.
Racers in this year’s run get quite a bargain for $30 — admission to all three days of the event (normally $10 a ticket), entry into the race, a souvenir glass for the first 200 registrants and a post-race beverage. You would be hard-pressed to find too many running races with an entry fee that affordable.
“Yeah, it’s a great deal,” said Michael Coe, race director for the Royal Run. “You have post-race refreshments and lots of fun to go around. Everyone usually has a great time.”
The WinterFest race has been going on for several years, but it’s changed and evolved almost every time it’s been held, according to Coe. It was once a Warrior Dash event -- more obstacle race than anything else. The 2016 version will be a little tamer than the initial iteration of the WinterFest race, according to Coe, although the details are still being worked out.
“It’s going to be somewhere between a straight-up running race and an obstacle race,” Coe said. “It definitely won’t be a really intense Marine-style obstacle course.”
The course will be a loop in Bend’s Old Mill near the Deschutes River — between 5 kilometers and 8 kilometers, depending on its final configuration.
At the end of the race, runners — usually a couple hundred people participate, Coe says — will get to cool down on the final day of WinterFest with a post-race beer. It’s hard to think of a better way to enjoy Central Oregon.
To register: oregonwinterfest.com/winterfestrun
Other Ways to Exercise and Drink Beer in Central Oregon
If you want a way to burn some calories before having your beer, there are lots of ways to get your fix around Bend:
Great Nordeen Nordic Race, Jan. 30, 2016: Racers usually enjoy a few brews after the 18K and 30K distances at the post-race party. More info: mbsef.org/nordic/races
Bend Beer Chase, June 4, 2016: This 70-mile relay race is not for the casual runner or for people who don’t enjoy beer. Up to six people run through the high desert with free beer samples at relay exchange points. Almost every brewery in Central Oregon is represented. More info: bendbeerchase.cascaderelays.com
Pub runs, various dates: Bend running store FootZone commonly holds short runs that end up at various drinking locations around town. The next one is Jan. 25. More info: footzonebend.com/events
Twilight 5K Run/Walk, Aug. 11, 2016: The Deschutes Brewery-sponsored event serves Twilight Ale to race participants at the end. More info: superfitproductions.com/races/twilight-5k-run-walk
Thrilla Cyclocross, September 2016: Bend’s cyclocross series gets racers thirsty. You don’t get free beer as a part of racing your bike, but enjoying a beer while heckling competitors is part of the experience. More info: mbsef.org/events/mbsef-thrilla-cyclocross-series
By Dustin Gouker
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Somewhere in the middle of the 70-mile Bend Beer Chase running relay, Jonahs Jennings had a revelation:
“I think we should be able to jump into a pool of Coors Light and then drink an IPA when we’re done,” he said, which was followed by chuckles from some of his teammates.
Jonahs and the rest of his race crew were waiting for one of their runners to finish a leg somewhere in the high desert of Central Oregon early in June. The second edition of the race took runners on a circuit through the area, from Bend to Redmond, then across Sisters before heading back to Bend.
The catch with this race? Relay hand-off points were located at many of Central Oregon’s breweries, and participants could enjoy samples at pretty much every stop along the way. More than 90 teams took part in the race.
“The Hood Pack,” a team of four women and two men from Sandy and Estacada, represented sort of a cross section of the participants in the race. Some, like team captain Elaine Knapp, consider themselves serious runners (she will have completed four different relays and an ultramarathon by the end of the summer). Others, like Jonahs and Elaine’s husband Seth, were doing their first relay and were there more for fun and for the beer. Elaine wasn’t the only running veteran on the team. Jonahs’ wife Jenn, Cari Nguyen and Alesia Soll have all done relays like the popular Hood to Coast and the Cascade Lakes Relay, which is put on by organizers of the Bend Beer Chase.
The race, like most running relays, is an amazing exercise in logistics, for both the organizers and the teams.
The night before the race, the Hood Pack drove from the Sandy area to a cabin near Sunriver. As nighttime descended, the team was a whirlwind of activity and laughter as they made preparations, such as decorating their support van with beer-inspired phrases including “It’s time to stout running,” as well red plastic cups that were tied to the roof.
“We’re going to try to run really fast, while still having fun,” Cari said as teammates bustled around in the gathering darkness.
Some teams took the race super seriously. An open men’s team from Bend completed the race in about seven hours, good for an average pace fewer than six minutes per mile. The Hood Pack finished in the middle of the competitors, with a time of 11 hours, 21 minutes.
A little bit of drinking went on during the race, but most of the Hood Pack stayed focused on supporting the team and running their legs quickly. Drinking beer and then running isn’t always the best mix of activities, especially with temperatures approaching 90 degrees on race day. Although early in the race Elaine jokingly opined that “beer and Coke are the best recovery drinks.”
As the name of the run suggests, beer is a major component. The race started at Worthy Brewing’s pub on the east side of Bend at just after 6 a.m. for the Hood Pack. The first leg took runners past 10 Barrel’s production facility, where Seth and Jonahs were able to scoop up a few free six packs of Joe IPA.
Mobile brewery stations were set up along the Oregon countryside at almost every transition point, usually along with a game like cornhole where runners could try to win prizes. Even early in the morning, Hood Pack team members gave some beer a try from Bend’s Bridge 99 Brewery, Redmond’s Juniper Brewing Company and Sunriver Brewing Company.
But after a particularly grueling and dehydrating leg as temperatures heated up, Elaine said “No more beer until after the race!” At least it meant no more for her.
There were also stops at the physical locations of Redmond’s Wild Ride Brewing, Sisters’ Three Creeks Brewing and the Bendistillery. In the two-mile “Keg Leg” after the official finish of the race, participants got free samples at six Bend breweries (Bend Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewery, Silver Moon Brewing, Atlas Cider Company, McMenamins and Crux Fermentation Project).
Despite a lack of heavy drinking by the Hood Pack team, there was a fair amount of silliness on the course:
--Alesia took a picture of herself in a ridiculous costume that included a horse mask and a holster full of beers around her waist in an attempt to win a Bend Beer Chase “selfie contest.”
--A “proposal” of marriage occurred among team members with the aid of a ring pop handed out by one of the breweries.
--And teammates revived the Harlem Shake by performing it on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere while one of their members jogged past.
After the race, the team relaxed at Silver Moon, some hydrating with water while others enjoyed beer samples and a much-needed square meal after a full day on the road.
Despite being a relative racing novice, Jonahs offered this sage bit of perspective:
“The beer for this race is really good.”
By Alethea Smartt LaRowe
For the Oregon Beer Growler
As we ring in the new year, many of us will make a list of resolutions which inevitably include something related to health and fitness. Why not accomplish several things at once by participating in some fun activities with the added bonus of beer as your reward?
Note that there were too many events to list here in print, so be sure to check with travel bureaus, breweries, gear shops, fitness and sports clubs, and tour operators for even more outings involving beer.
Event: Fit Right First Thursday Urban Adventure Run
Details: Similar to a scavenger hunt. At 6 p.m., a checkpoint map will be revealed in person and on the Fit Right Facebook page. You'll have one hour to go to as many stops as you can to receive a raffle ticket. At 7 p.m., there is a raffle drawing where you can relax with one complimentary beer and listen to music from the disc jockey. All abilities and paces are welcome.
Dates: March 5, April 2, May 7, June 4, July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3
Event: Fit Right Pub Runs
Details: A social running event that happens monthly or sometimes twice a month at a designated brewery. The pub run is three miles in length and will start and finish at the brewery. Occasionally, footwear brands will sponsor the run and bring footwear demos for runners to test. After the run, happy hour beer prices are offered to the participants, who have a chance to socialize over a few drinks. The breweries rotate around Portland and Vancouver, Wash. All abilities and paces are welcome.
Dates: This run typically happens on the third Tuesday of the month.
Event: Thirsty Thursday Run
Location: Portland Running Company, 800 SE Grand Ave., Portland
Details: Join owner Dave Harkin and a fun group of runners at 6 p.m. for a 4- to 6-mile waterfront or neighborhood run, followed by beers at a nearby watering hole. PRC will buy the first round for everyone who shows up, provided you're age 21 or older.
Dates: Every Thursday night
Event: Shamrock Run
Details: Run really fast and win your weight in beer! The men and women winners of the 5K, 8K, 15K and half marathon (including the wheelchair divisions) will be mailed gift certificates from the Shamrock Run during the week of March 16 with instructions for how to redeem their weight in Widmer Brothers beer.
Date: March 15
Event: Bite of Bend Beer Run
Location: Downtown Bend
Details: The Beer Run happens each June in conjunction with the Bite of Bend. It’s a 5K walk/run that includes stops at several local breweries.
Date: Late June
Event: Bend Beer Chase
Details: The Beer Chase is a one-day six-person running relay approximately 70 miles long, consisting of 12 legs of varying distance (4 to 8 miles per leg). The course starts in Bend at Worthy Brewing, travels to Redmond, then goes to Sisters and back to finish in Bend at Crux Fermentation Project. Each time you hand off at a brewery, you will have the option to enjoy a 3- to 4-ounce sample of beer.
Date: June 6
Event: Pints to Pasta
Details: Pints to Pasta is an award-winning Portland 10K run. Participants follow a downhill course through the city to Widmer Brothers Brewing, then across the Willamette River, finishing at the Old Spaghetti Factory where runners get to enjoy free post-race pasta meals along with their finisher’s beer.
Date: Sept. 13
Event: Santa Speedo Run
Details: The Santa Speedo Run is an annual fundraiser for The Ethiopia Project. Included in your entry fee are four drink tickets for Deschutes beer and light appetizers. This event is for men and women over the age of 21. Speedos and costumes are not required but Santa hats and bells are encouraged.
Date: December TBD
Event: Worst Day of the Year Ride
Details: The Worst Day of the Year Ride is Portland’s annual you-can’t-stop-us celebration of year-round riding. The event draws around 4,000 riders who show up in sometimes outrageous costumes (there are prizes!) or not, enjoy belly-nourishing warm treats along the way, and ride 15 (or 46) miles with wide smiles no matter what the weather. Laugh at the elements and enjoy the finish line party at Lucky Lab Brew Pub.
Date: Feb. 8
Event: Blitz 2 The Barrel
Details: Blitz 2 The Barrel is all about having a good time. From start to finish, there is something to satisfy every bike fan. Racing, jumping, downhill riding, street riding, arm wrestling — and let's not forget beer! Traditionally hosted at 10 Barrel Brewing, this event truly embraces its Central Oregon roots.
Date: June 16
Event: Baker City Cycling Classic
Location: Baker City
Details: This is the first bike race in the world to offer equal prize money for women and equal distances for all riders. It's one of the most difficult stage races in the country and is open to amateurs and professionals. It also finishes at the highest elevation in the Northwest at 7,238 feet above sea level. Barley Brown’s Beer is a longtime sponsor of the Cycling Classic and is a commanding presence at the finish line where all participants enjoy beer and winners get pint glasses containing their cash prize.
Dates: June 26-28
Event: Petal Pedal
Details: Petal Pedal is a gourmet distance bike ride like no other. You’ll journey along scenic, quiet roads along mostly flat routes (with a hilly option to visit Silver Falls) as you drift away to another world. The ride starts and finishes at The Oregon Garden, Oregon’s premier botanical garden with more than 80 acres of specialty areas. Your ride pass includes breakfast, lunch, gourmet dinner, free Hopworks beer and access to the garden.
Date: June 27
Event: Anthony Lakes Mountain Bike Festival
Location: North Powder
Details: The second annual Anthony Lakes Mountain Bike festival features guided rides for all abilities, a kids bike park, barbecue and beer from Barley Brown’s, bike demos, swag giveaway, and lots of good ol’ Anthony Lakes fun.
Date: Aug. 1
Event: Tour de Lab
Details: This annual festival is a triple threat that celebrates a few of Portland’s favorite things: beer, bikes and dogs. After a spirited costume contest, participants choose from two bike rides: the Puppy, a 19-mile flat ride or the Big Dog, a more challenging, 40-mile ride that offers a spectacular tour of the city. Riders stop for rest and “people treats” at up to four Lucky Lab Brew Pubs, earning dog costume gear (tail, ears and nose) along the way.
Date: September (TBD)
Event: Deschutes Brew Bus
Details: Throughout the winter season, Mt. Bachelor partners with Deschutes Brewery to offer the “Deschutes Brew Bus” between Portland and Mt. Bachelor. For $109, riders get bus transportation from the Deschutes Brewery pub in Portland to Mt. Bachelor, a lift ticket for the day, a lunch voucher, a light dinner at the Deschutes Brewery pub in Bend and transportation back to Portland — all in the same day. Of course, riders can enjoy some Deschutes Brewery beer as well!
Dates: Jan. 19 and 31, Feb. 16, March 7 and 28, April 25
Event: Laurelwood Town Challenge
Location: Mt. Hood Meadows
Details: The Town Challenge, sponsored by Laurelwood Brewing Co., is a recreational race series designed for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The goal of the series is to provide both business and non-business teams the opportunity to enjoy Mt. Hood Meadows in a team-oriented, family friendly, recreational racing environment. Participants may race as an individual or as a team.
Dates: Feb. 27, March 6, March 13
Event: Anthony Lakes Nordic Crawl
Location: North Powder
Details: This new event invites you to Nordic ski from brewery to brewery for tastings. Enjoy up to 10 different beers and up to 10 different wines, all local of course! Family friendly, non-alcoholic beverages provided. Enjoy at your leisure or register for the competitive event.
Date: March 22
Event: Full Sail Banked Slalom
Location: Mt. Hood Meadows
Details: Sponsored by Full Sail Brewing, this event challenges skiers and snowboarders to complete a series of banked turns. The faster a rider goes, the bigger the course becomes due to the nature of the course’s high walls. Everyone gets two runs and the combined time will be used to determine the finish order. The event is open to men and women, juniors as well as adults, open and masters divisions. There is a cash prize purse to be split among the open and masters division winners (based on full fields) and gift cards for the junior divisions.
Date: April 4
Event: Sno-Kona Pond Skim
Location: Mt. Hood Meadows
Details: The ninth annual Sno-Kona Pond Skim at Mt. Hood Meadows, presented by Kona Brewing (brewed in Portland), challenges snowboarders and skiers to skim across 100 feet of frigid water. All competitors must be 21 or older. Participants get one attempt to cross the pond successfully. There will be prizes for the top competitors as well as best costume, best splash and more!
Date: April 25
Event: Shoes, Brews & Views
Details: Wanderlust Tours offers snowshoeing tours in the winter with a beer component.
Dates: Daily, check website for availability
Event: Brews & Views
Details: Wanderlust Tours offers canoeing tours in the summer with a beer component.
Dates: Daily June-October, check website for availability
Event: Raft n’ Brew
Details: In the summertime, Sun Country Tours does whitewater rafting trips in conjunction with local breweries.
Dates: Various, check website for schedule
Event: Beers Made By Walking
Location: Various cities in Oregon and other states
Details: Beers Made By Walking is a program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks. Each walk is different and each beer is a portrait of that landscape. The program happens in multiple cities each year.
Dates: See website for schedule
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