Port City Brewery in Alexandria hosts, with local running store Pacers, a Joggers & Lagers run club every Monday. Apparently these runs used to be just once a month but were so popular that they decided to hold them every week.
These runs are not metro-accessible (you’d have to get a ride from the closest metro, King Street) so Mike drove over after work and picked me up at the metro station, as I was coming from work in Maryland. The timing worked out well and we arrived at Port City at about 6:40 with about 20 minutes before the start of the run club. A Pacers branded table was set up in front of the brewery with a water dispenser, sign in/out sheets and maps, and the Pacers rep stood nearby to answer any questions about the route or the run clubs, in general.
I’m not a run club expert but I’ve done some CitySports, Nike, Potomac River Running and Glen’s Garden Market runs and this Port City run club was by far the largest! Mike and I estimated 40-50 people were there. I’d say this crowd is slightly older than the other metro-accessible, downtown DC run clubs we’ve done. It seemed like there were many run club regulars who meet up with friends at this run club. Although it sometimes feels easier to meet new people at smaller run clubs, Port City runners were friendly and shared the same love for running and beer.
Around 7 pm, another Pacers rep explained the route for us newbies. There were 3 out-and-back options: a 1 mile, a 3 mile and a 5 mile. Basically, you looked for pink flags along the path to designate turn-arounds. Our marathon training plan called for a 5.5 mile “fast” so between 7:50 and 8:20 min/miles.
We quickly got on a trail that connected us to the paved and flat Holmes Run Trail, running in between Eisenhower Avenue and Holmes Run, which feeds into the Potomac River. Mike sped ahead of me after about a mile and was in a group with some other fast guys. I was running solo so popped in my earbuds. It was HOT. I’m so glad I brought my Nathan water bottle. A Pacers rep had sped ahead and was stationed at the top of the bridge over Telegraph Road, telling the 5-milers to turn around. After I turned around, I ran past a group of girls and some solo runners, noting that I should try to run with those girls next time. I love meeting new people at run clubs and hearing their stories/experiences. It’s a great way to learn about other run clubs and area races, as well as, gain running advice and make some new friends. Mike was running near a guy who ran a 50K – the day before!
The run finished back at the tasting room where runners had settled into high-top tables and chairs. Some groups (must be regulars) brought impressive food spreads with hummus, veggies, pita chips, etc… Port City doesn’t sell food but you’re welcome to bring food in. Next time, we’d plan ahead and bring some more substantial food. We had just brought a bag of Utz pretzels. We’d also probably bring another shirt to change into, like the regulars seemed to do. We were very sweaty… My face was dripping as you can see in the photo below. I got a bug in my eye during the run and had rubbed my eye to get it out, leading to mascara all over. Oops. Next time I should also wash my face after.
My Northwest Pale Ale really hit the spot. Port City sells their beers in tasting sizes as well as pint sizes so you don’t have to commit to a full pint or to just one type of beer! Also, smart of Port City to open the doors and turn on the giant floor fan! The tasting room was more packed than I’ve ever seen it, even more so than some Saturdays we’ve come for tour/tastings.
We got a growler of the Northwest Pale Ale for Matt, picked him up at Reagan airport and made a necessary Chick-fil-A stop. I had no idea they were open until 10 pm! When we do this run again, we’ll probably throw a cooler in the car with sandwiches or something to eat for dinner in the tasting room.
We had a great time at this run and will definitely do this again! It’s not that easy to get to unless you have a car, but it’s nice that the run starts at 7 pm to allow time for runners to get there from work. I’d recommend bringing food to snack on post run. It’s also a great opportunity to meet up with friends, get a workout in and catch up over drinks. The tasting room is open from 6-9 pm on Mondays.