Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fishtown Beer Runners meets Who's Up?

If you're a runner in the Philadelphia area, you've probably heard of the Fishtown Beer Runners.  As the name would suggest, they're a group that meets in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood to run and then - you guessed it - drink beer afterwards.

Founded by Eric Fiedler and David April in 2007, the club's concept is actually aided by science.  They had heard of a study conducted at the University of Granada in Spain by Professor Manuel Castillo that told of beer's positive effects following a run.  They decided to test the theory, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After the club's reputation grew, David decided to contact the Professor in something of a fanboy moment.  To his surprise, the Professor wrote back, and the two struck up a correspondence that has since led to several trips to Spain, where David eventually met the woman who would become his wife.

Today the group's name is trademarked, it has received endorsements from such heavyweights as Christopher McDougall, and even been the subject of a feature-length documentary.  Through it all, the group's activity remains the same: dozens of runners meet at David's house in Fishtown on Thursday nights, always running 3-5 miles, always finishing at a local bar and always raising a glass to toast the professor before the end of the evening, just as they have done since the beginning.

A few weeks ago, one of the guys in Who's Up? ran with the Fishtown Beer Runners and decided to organize a viewing of the aforementioned documentary at one of our own club meetings.

So that's where I found myself last night: after seven sweaty miles, we all convened in the basement of the Haddonfield Running Company for our club's first movie night.  David himself and a few others from his club made the trek across the bridge, and after a short introduction, we all sat with beer and soft pretzels to watch the film together.

The film was incredible, by the way.  It starts on a low note as David reels from a recent divorce, and quickly picks up steam as running begins to save him, all while capturing Philadelphia's unique neighborhoods.  The action transfers to various bars in the city before going international, tagging along on one of the group's trips to Spain as they meet the professor and participate in one of his ongoing studies.

In my humble opinion, it's right up there with films like Spirit of the Marathon in terms of inspiration and should be included in any runner's movie collection.  You can rent or buy the movie to stream on any device by clicking here.  I don't think it's available on DVD, though.

After the movie, we all toasted to the Professor:

And I got a picture with the man, the myth, the legend himself:

Huge thanks to the Haddonfield Running Company for letting us hang out after hours, especially to Shawn and TJ for sticking around to supervise us delinquents.  Also thanks to Tom for putting the whole thing together, and of course David and the Fishtown Beer Runners for making the trek across the bridge to run and drink with us and share the movie.  And of course for spreading the gospel of running and beer.  The world is most definitely a better place because of them.

There is already talk in our group of crossing the bridge to join them on one of their runs in the nearby future.  Until then...

To the Professor!


  1. Reminds me of when the Northeast (Philadelphia) Roadrunners met the Guelph (Ontario) Roadrunners at Guelph's hospitality suite after the Asbury Park 10K one year -- no movies, but lots of Canadian beer and one of my friends in the NERRC discovered that after a certain number of beers he knew the words to Oh Canada, which we sang to honor our hosts.

    1. This is one of my favorite running stories of yours.

  2. Did you see that your running store is in a March Madness bracket of running stores on Salty Running? Vote before 1p tomorrow! (PS I have no affiliation to either SR or HRC, but happen to like them both!)

    1. Thanks for the heads up! Clicked on the link and voted for them, so hopefully they'll go the distance!


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