For many in Western New York beer and running go together like, well, like beer and running.
"I've had race directors call me and say, 'I'm told I'm supposed to call you to get beer?''' said Tim Herzog, founder of Flying Bison Brewing Company.
Yes, race directors know there's an element of success to their event tied in with the post-race party, including the availability of beer.
While Flying Bison products are often part of those post-race parties, and while the brewery has become a sponsor of several local races, Herzog is taking another step to promoting running and supporting the running community, launching the Urban Trail Run Series for 2018.
The driving force for stepping up their running involvement?
"Because I wish I was still running," said Herzog, who retired from the roads about 10 years ago with knee problems. A native of the Rochester area, he started running cross country in high school and kept running when he came to college at Buffalo State.
"I'm living vicariously through all these runners," Herzog said. "I just think it fills a need. There's some good races. There's some good race directors. There's some good post-race parties. It's not that I want to set up training boot camp, but let's help you a little bit more to take the next step without feeling like you're going to a gym or have to be a member of a specific club. If you've got time to come down here and do the urban trail run and meet some new runners, socialize a little bit, maybe have a beer afterwards, or have a cup of water afterwards. I think just it adds a little fun and different dimension to training."
Here's how it works:
Once a month, Flying Bison will sponsor a group run from the brewery at 840 Seneca St. Runs will vary in length, but be around 4 or 5 miles with all paces welcomed. The runs begin at 11 a.m. and the routes will take the group through the streets of Buffalo and the waterfront area. Upon return there will be refreshments and, of course, Flying Bison pint specials.
There's no preregistration. Come for one of them. Come for all of them.
The idea is just to come out, meet other runners, get new ideas and tips, and maybe see parts of the city you're not familiar with.
"We want to make it a casual, fun thing," said Dennis Brinkworth, the market development manager for The F.X. Matt Brewing Company and himself a marathoner. "We want to engage people with running. Make it not feel so much like work."
Flying Bison has already been part of the running community, sponsoring Run 716 and the Buffalo Marathon along with other local races. Herzog and the brewery are involved with cycling as well with Slow Roll and GoBike Buffalo.
And all along, Flying Bison sees a connection between people who live an active lifestyle and craft beer.
"People who run, despite what the TV commercials tell you, they're not really hankering for an ultra or a light," Herzog said. "They want a beer with some flavor. They tend to be people who like to cook their own food, who like a little healthier diet, who like a flavorful beer, a good glass of wine. They like those experiences."
"When you think about it, the person who likes to run really matches the craft beer drinker," Brinkworth said. "Right to Tim's point, they want to experience something that tastes good. We just see the obvious fit. It's kind of hard to describe it. I've run my whole life and to me it's ingrained in my psyche. I've always worked in the beer business so the fit is such a natural thing to me. I think with a little bit of creativity on our end we could have something really nice here."
The first urban trail run is scheduled for Jan. 20 with other dates set for Feb. 3, March 24, April 14, May 19, and June 16.
Runner of the Year Awards
Certificates for overall and age group winners will be mailed out in January. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address to receive your award. Winners were announced on Dec. 17.
Race Directors Meeting
Attention race directors! The Western New York FLTS has scheduled the 2018 race directors meeting for 6:30 p.m., Jan. 11 at the Knights of Columbus, 1530 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo. The session is open to all current and prospective race directors along with anyone interested in learning how to organize a successful local road race. Pizza, wings, and pop will be available at the meeting. For more info call (716) 634-5052 or (716) 587-1530.
Monday, Jan. 1
- iRun WNY 5K New Year’s Classic, noon, Fort Niagara State Park, Lewiston.
- New Year’s Resolution 5K, 1 p.m., St. Bonaventure University, Olean.
Saturday, Jan. 6
- Chautauqua Striders Winter 5K Series No. 1, 10 a.m., Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E Terrace Ave, Lakewood.
Monday, Jan. 8
- Jackrabbit Snowshoe Series No. 1, 6:30 p.m., 2-mile and 1-mile snowshoe race, Kissing Bridge, 10296 State Rd, Glenwood.
Saturday, Jan. 13
- Chautauqua Striders Winter 5K Series No. 2, 10 a.m., Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E Terrace Ave, Lakewood.