SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

June 11, 2013

On The Run: Races becoming more and more like social events

It’s no secret that there are more road races taking place than ever before. But the running resurgence is also intersecting with the current boom in independent craft brewing.

To set their events apart, local race organizers are teaming with local brewers to offer post-race parties that go beyond the traditional spread of Gatorade, cold cuts and a bag of chips.

Successful examples include the Cambridge 5K race series (http://cambridge5k.com), which has expanded beyond Cambridge this year to include a new event in Ipswich; the Loco race series (www.locoraces.com/) in southern New Hampshire, and the Newburyport Green Stride Half Marathon.

In a relatively short period of time, the C5K series has become as well-known for its after-parties as its races. Race director Ed O’Connor directed races for the Somerville Road Runners club before launching the C5K, a five-race series that includes three 5Ks in Cambridge, a trail race at the DCR Middlesex Fells in Stoneham and the newest race, the Big Bad Wolf 5-mile combination road/trail run in Ipswich on Sept. 21.

The post-race parties include a dance-off and beer provided by local brewers including Notch Brewing of Ipswich, Slumbrew of Somerville, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project of Cambridge and Baxter Brewing of Lewiston, Maine. In addition, the brewers have entered teams of runners to compete in the events (full disclosure: I’ve run for Team Notch in several races).

“Our series is all about celebrating craftsmanship. We pay attention to the small details: handmade ceramic trophies for the winners, live graffiti painting at parties, etc.,” O’Connor, who formerly lived in Danvers, said. “The beer had to be the same. It’s awesome to have someone like (Salem resident) Chris Lohring from Notch Brewing pouring beer at our races that he brewed by hand just a few weeks earlier.”

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