Bend, Oregon is known for its active, outdoor community. It is also known for the plethora of breweries in town. Although there are many breweries, they are anything but ordinary. We are lucky enough to have some amazing breweries producing some darn tasty beer here in Bend.
Bend’s love affair with the breweries in town is evident when you learn about the “Bend Ale Trail.” A trail, so to speak, of breweries. If you visit all the breweries on the trail and check-in with your passport (either on the app or physical card), you get a commemorative gift. Yes, you get a reward for going to the breweries in town and drinking beer! If you are interested in trekking the Bend Ale Trail, find out more here. I successfully completed the trail myself and I recommend it to any beer lover in Bend, Oregon.
Saturday, November 12, 2016 marked the inaugural Bend Ale Trail Run. Participants could choose from running a 10k or half marathon which included entry into the beer festival following the race. Registration for the race also included 4 tasting tokens and a swanky pint glass with the Bend Ale Trail Run logo (totally exclusive!).
For myself, I opted to run the half marathon. I didn’t do much research on the race course before registering… The fact I would get beer after the race, and I would get to pick the beer I wanted, was reason enough for me to sign up! (Side note: I’ve completed races where there was only one or two beers to select from, both of which usually ended up being ones I don’t like… aka non-craft beer, if you know what I mean. So, I was super pumped to be able to sample local beers of my choice).
On race day, I kept motivated to run by the beautiful scenic course and the light at the end of the tunnel… beer at the finish line. I definitely enjoyed the race (I plan on participating again next year too). To summarize my experience completing the Bend Ale Trail Run, I decided to list five highlights of the race:
5. Running – It is always inspiring to be surrounded by other runners. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning. Not to mention the wonderful runner’s high following completion of the race.
4. Scenic course – My favorite miles were 2, 7, and 11… they all had some amazing downhills that I was able to catch some great speed. Oh, I meant there was amazing forest scenery. Let’s face it, Bend is known for being an outdoor community because of the beauty that surrounds us. There was no shortage of views throughout this course. Even finishing the race in North West Crossing yields views of beautifully constructed homes.
3. Food & Aid Stations – Not only did I get gummy bears and goldfish at the aid stations (bananas and gels were available too), I received a fantastic meal* and dessert (cookies) after the race. I thoroughly enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich, even though I rarely eat meat these days. I did overhear someone ask for a vegetarian option and she got what she was seeking. *Important tip: Don’t skip the meal after the race, you don’t to get hammered while visiting the Beer Festival.
2. The Finisher’s Medal – It doubles as a bottle opener! I don’t think I need to say anything more about that. If I had to elaborate, I would say you would be the life of any party rockin’ your finishers medal to open everyone’s beer. However, if we are ever at the same party together, don’t steal my thunder on this one.
1. The Beer – Of course this is #1! Participants received a pretty sweet Bend Ale Run pint glass and beanie (which is of course a requirement for any Bendite). The pint glass included 4 tasting tokens to be redeemed for the beer samples of your choice at the beer festival. There were plenty of breweries and types of beers available too. I tend to gravitate to dark beers (I like chocolate and coffee tones in the beers, so it is like drinking my dessert), I was completely satisfied with the selection.
One (small) recommendation for improvement…
Although I totally enjoyed the race, I do have one suggested revision for next year. I think the race director may have forgotten most of us were racing to get to the beer festival at the finish line. Am I right? The mile markers were counting the miles completed in the race… they failed to tell us how many miles until we would have beer in our hands! Therefore, I have a suggested revision for next year’s race: The mile marker signs should state how many more miles until you will be tasting beer. For example, “3.1 miles until beer” instead of, or in addition to, “Mile 10.” If they accept this suggested revision for next year, I might end up PRing the course… I am totally motivated to run when I am rewarded with beer.
Kristi Coughlin, MS, RDN, LDN is a nutrition expert and a running enthusiast. She may not be the fastest runner, but you can say she is a serial racer. As a result of her love of running she became a member (#12903) of the Half Fanatic running group. Although she primarily runs half marathons, she is a six time full marathons finisher.
Professionally, Kristi is a registered & licensed dietitian nutritionist practicing in the beautiful City of Bend. As a lover of all things food and nutrition, Kristi is a passionate about empowering, leading, and inspiring clients to achieve their long-term goals. Her messages regarding nutrition have a central theme of eating right should be done in easy to manage steps, no need to overcomplicate it.