Run for Craft 36 mi – 12 breweries

In the last week of March, the doom of the pandemic lock down seemed overwhelming. No foreseeable future lift. No group runs. No races. No [fill in your blank]. My family’s Flying Lion Brewing had to shut the taproom sales (pickup and delivery available!) in Columbia City, Seattle, and that was my personal moment of realization. The neighborhood hub that my brother, Griffin, built from scratch was in jeopardy. Community was (is) in jeopardy.

Just as Griffin shouldered the work of renovating an old, closed thrift store with crumbling drop-ceilings in 2014, I decided to literally carry my share of craft-brewing awareness. I followed David Kilgore’s lead and did what we On ambassadors/athletes do best. Run. For me, this was a 36 mile, 2500 ft, 12 brewery tour of Seattle to pick-up nearly 20 lbs of To Go/Takeout/Curbside pints. It was proof that if I could still close that run at 6:50 per mile into a hailing head-wind, then it is relatively easy to help our local businesses survive the pandemic. Relatively. We still have a long way to go.

With sore trapezii and a full bottle cellar, I spent the next few weeks recovering and thinking a lot about how to make a bigger impact; how Fair Isle Brewing, brand new to the scene, will survive; how owners are working hard to keep paying employees.

Fast-forward to late April. I ran a few nation-wide virtual races, clocked a 4:26 mile and a 15:04 5k, but that didn’t seem as satisfying as I’d hoped. I still wanted a running outlet that directly benefited craft-brewing. Then, the inspiration arrived to my inbox. The Brewers Association, champions of small independent craft breweries, partnered with Bottleshare to put forth a centralized Go Fund Me campaign for brewery relief – Believe in Beer.

Perfect! It is now time for Round 2. I’m sketching routes, calling breweries, working with a neighbor (Ian Edelstein – previously, City of Seattle’s Photographer and 8x Comrades finisher) to SAFELY put together a 100 km loop to show how much I care about locally-crafted beer. Locally-crafted everything!

This run will be the farthest I have ever traveled by foot. It will go through currently desolate industrial city blocks and forested back roads. It will satisfy a long-held goal of mine to run to Tacoma (and back), where I’ll pick up a can or two from Sig Brewing, which is (I’m pretty sure) the youngest brewery in Washington State. I’m headed to Sig to show that breweries care for each other. People care for each other. And, uh, hopefully get a few people to laugh and smile at me as I put in about 100,000 steps for craft.

How about you!? I have three requests.

Find a way to safely support a local business. Run “with” me by posting a picture to social media @evandouglaswilliams #BelieveInBeer. I’ll figure out how to merge IG stories with @flyinglionbrewing@seattlerunning, and @on_running athlete accounts. Let’s make a day of it! Local and Global.

2) Donate to the Brewer’s Association / Bottleshare Go Fund Me page.

3) Call a few friends. Tell them how important they are. Have a chat, maybe over a digital pint from your neighborhood brewery.


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