“I don’t want you to think I’m a drinker. I can stop if I want to, only I don’t want to.” Marilyn Monroe.
The night before I broke the 28-year-old Canadian women’s marathon record, I went out with one of my running girl friends for pad thai. My final bit of carb loading before the big morning. I also had a beer. Just one, and nothing heavy—I had not yet discovered my love for craft beers and hoppy IPAs. The next morning was a whirlwind. And in my post-race interviews I talked about my dinner the night before. I really did not think anything of it. I often had a beer (or two) the night before a big workout or long-run, so cracking open a cold one was not in any way abnormal.
To my surprise, it ended up being a bigger deal to others. Almost immediately, there were comments on my social media posts that I should take running more seriously.
My management team and I decided to double down and reach out to beer companies about potential partnerships. We were told that it was not a great fit—a marathon runner, a professional athlete—sponsored by a beer company. It was right around that time that Michelob Ultra started sponsoring Lance Armstrong. I was frustrated and confused.
Flash forward, and nearly 10 years later there are several professional marathon runners sponsored by major beer companies like Coors and Michelob—and even some non-alcoholic beer companies. Perhaps this is a story that’s been told before, seeing a trend or an opportunity before it takes off. I’ve been on the frontlines or ahead of the curve on a few things in my athletic career. And I have often found myself being told “no” quite often, and then later see an emerging trend of those same quirky partnership ideas (and often lucrative) pop up a wee bit later. We have national team members sponsored by Kraft Dinner! As much as what I’m writing might read as jealousy, it isn’t. I love that companies are starting to see the broader appeal of our Olympic athletes. Professional running isn’t always the easiest sport to pay your bills, and it’s fantastic to see beer companies moving to the front of the line.
Beer run clubs are a regular part of my weekly running routine. And some of our favourite runners are our Beer Milers. Heck, I even have my own beer with Forked River—the Black Sheep 2.0. More of a passion project than a windfall into my bank account (I don’t receive any profits or proceeds)—I will say, my beer is f-ing delicious!
Running culture and beer culture seem to be blending together better than ever. And it has been awesome to see the running world come around to accepting my affinity for beer drinking—including a pre-race brew the night before.
Personally, I drink about four or five beers a week. I don’t over-drink. And I can take it or leave it. But I like to take it…
And perhaps I can take it to the same level as my beer-endorsed colleagues.