People that aren’t me seem to think that running and beer go together. I first discovered this at 18 when I ran my first marathon. Instead of a water station at mile 23, it was a beer station. Although this would have been a golden opportunity for my under-aged self to score some free alcohol, I was not remotely interested in drinking warm beer when I still had 3.2 more miles to run.

Several years later I discovered the international Hash House Harriers, aka “Drinkers with a Running Problem.” The international club is known for bestowing it’s member with (extremely) inappropriate nicknames and partaking in drunken singalongs after running through mud and ditches. Again, not interested.

I just can’t build up a strong desire for beer after a run, no matter how hot the run or how cold the beer. I’d seriously rather have a warm Diet Pepsi. Or water. Call me boring.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a sobriety lifestyle. Drinking alcohol is fabulous. I love wine at Italian restaurants, especially if cheese is involved. Amaretto sours are my go-to-drink when I need to stay alert throughout the night. I don’t think I could play bingo without two shots of tequila and a bag of Doritos, and  I can totally get behind drinking beer at bars and baseball games and camping trips and whenever I’m having a hamburger.

But after running? I’m sorry, but how can anything beat a water?

So here in Denver people love running clubs and drinking beer. Again, these two activities are intertwined. It is quite typical here for running clubs to meet at bars, go off and run, and then return and drink. I love the concept and don’t want to miss out, so I just eat instead of drink after the run. Here are a group-runs-at-bars that I’ve been frequenting:

Snug Run

A large group of runners meet at the Irish Snug every Thursday for a run. To get in on the action, sign up online to join the “official” list. Around 6ish, meet underneath the Snug (at the entrance on Marion, not Colfax), sign in again (because once you’ve reached a certain amount of runs you get a free t-shirt), and find some people to run with. Snug Runners do not start off as one group, so you have to make friends there to go running with. (Like me! Leave a comment if you want to join me and my group.)

The 3.5 mile loop is an easy one, through Cheeseman Park and past the Denver Botanical Gardens before heading back to Colfax and the Snug. After the race you can join the masses for free spaghetti or grab a table with friends. The food is nothing special, but the salads and burgers are acceptable.

Highland Tap Run

Meet your fellow runners at the very back of this bar on Wednesday nights to sign in. Then head outside to stand by the fire to warm up before the start. At 6:30 everyone starts off at once, but the pack does tend to thin out after the first mile. This run goes through Confluence Park, LoDo, past Coors Field, and back up 32nd to the bar. The word UP is used purposefully. The last mile is basically a LOOOONG hill. It’s not too steep, but it is never-ending.

The bar gets pretty crowded after the run, but I hear the beer here is top notch. I’m all about their macaroni and cheese though. It is creamy and so delicious that you can tell you are ingesting approximately 200 calories per bite – more if you get it with the bacon. I think you would have to do the 3.5 mile run several times over to cancel out the macaroni and cheese. But it’s worth it.

The only problem with attending these runs that meet in bars occurs if you happen to get your days mixed up. On Wednesday I accidentally headed to my Thursday night bar. Naturally I was in full-on running getup and paraded though the bar looking like a complete dork before I realized that I was there on the wrong day. However, Denver’s ultra-casual dress code standards made this mix-up only embarrassing as opposed to mortifying. I don’t even want to think about showing up at a bar on the Vegas Strip in running clothes.

Rocky Mountain Road Runners Club

The last running club I’ve joined up with is the Rocky Mountain Road Runners. I was thinking that this club would not meet the beer theme, but alas, the post race hangout was at Platte River Bar and Grill. Wherein people were drinking with gusto at 10am on a Sunday morning.

This is not a meet-up-and-run club, rather they sponsor monthly races as a club. Each race is $10, or you could join the club for a $35 yearly fee. (Discounts are available for households joining together, student runners, and those who are willing to volunteer during races). However, the group does also meet up and group for fun on Wednesday nights.

The races put on by RMRR are a little different. They all have staggered starts, so the slowest runners begin first, and others begin according to their estimated finish time. The idea is that everyone finishes together and anyone (even the slowest runner) has a chance at winning the race. Prizes are given out to winners over food and drinks after each race, and the camaraderie here is infectious.

So even for though I don’t enjoy a post-run-beer, I am loving Denver’s group bar runs. Provided I show up to the right bar on the right night.

Cheers! And Happy Running!