Last week San Francisco’s Treasure Island hosted one of the strangest and most fun running events I’ve ever seen. The Inaugural Beer Mile World Classic drew a unique crowd of international runners; beer lovers and fans of the eccentric came together to celebrate greatness and failure alike. Drink four beers, run four laps and try to keep it all in. How does a bunch of weirdos find each other? “Hey I like running really fast and trying to drink beers simultaneously…anyone want to join me?”
College teams in Canada started running beer miles back in the day and eventually stories slowly spread via old fashion word of mouth. But it was not until the late 90’s when the interwebs came into style that the beer mile started gaining steam. Records and rules were set on a website. Videos of the ridiculousness started circulating the Internet. Highly touted world record attempts were made and now two organized races have come to the surface. A community of strange became semi-mainstream.
The magnetic pull of the bizarre now happens all over the world. Websites, blogs, and social media have empowered the unique to unite. Forty years ago if you were really into making sweaters out of your personal pet’s fur you may have found it tough to find others with a similar interest. You may have also found it tough to make out with someone, but now that is all changed. You can go online and get weird with the whole pet sweater population. Go for it, check that shit out. I’ll wait.
The point is whether you want to drink and run until you vomit or weave Fido’s long coat into a cardigan, you have resources, support and opportunities to get together. Now I believe the most important part is utilizing the digital connection to make physical ones. Yes, find other weirdos on the internet, but let’s create opportunities to meet and hang out the old fashioned way as well.
My job for the past 10 years has been to put on running races, produce sporting events, and create experiences. Soul Focus Sports manages events for others and Represent Running owns and operates a Series of races. We love to get people moving, inspiring them to set goals, having as much fun as possible, add some style to the industry, and we try to support good causes along the way. That is our mission. And frankly we have done a pretty solid job of it, but I recently started to feel limited by the time and space continuum. Frankly, I’m not sure what that is but I’m pretty sure it’s limiting me.
We want to bring that mission to the world. We believe by harnessing the power of the intertubes we can connect running communities by introducing on-going challenges, themed virtual events, and a platform to verify your progress. The goal is still full of the same inspiration, but now we’re no longer limited by Sunday mornings in San Jose. Welcome to Run Local Events. Run and walk our events on your time. Organize a group run version or even put together a race utilizing the Run Local platform. Heck, if it worked for the cat sweater people then I think the running community can find a way to connect through the sport.
Our first event is called “Run Nine/Eleven & Freedom 5k.” Run Nine/Eleven challenges you to run nine miles on Day 1 and follow it up with eleven miles on Day 2. Twenty miles, two days, and one cause. 100% of the proceeds benefit Operation: Care & Comfort. The Freedom 5k is a one-day 5k. I think you get it.
In the end, it comes down to community. At first blush virtual races and really any online activity seem a lonely endeavor, however the key is connecting offline. We’re putting the events on the line so that you can get off it. Go check out www.https://runlocalcommunity.com and then go play.