Austin Beer Run Club combines running and happy hour

Austin athlete Amy Bush completes Ultraman Canada


For those who like to run and also enjoy the occasional hoppy beverage, get yourself over to Uncle Billy’s on Barton Springs Road for a little of both.

The Austin Beer Run Club convenes there at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday. At 6:45 p.m. members dash off on a 5K run, then return to the bar to hang out and enjoy adult beverages. There’s no charge, other than what you spend on refreshments.

“It’s a pretty simple concept that’s caught on like crazy,” says club founder Chris Bash.

The group formed in 2012, and about 80 people now show up for the weekly runs, Bash says. Once a “beer runner” logs 10 beer runs, they get a special free shirt, too.

“We’re not a hard-core running group,” Bash says, although some members are fast runners. “Everybody runs at their own pace, and it’s super laid-back. There’s no pressure, it costs nothing and you can have some beers afterwards.”

Bash has a confession to make. “I’m more of a beer drinker than a runner myself, but you don’t feel as guilty about drinking beer if you run,” he says.

The club also hosts quarterly pub runs, which involve running to four or five bars and enjoying a drink or two along the way. The Austin Beer Run Club is a subsidiary of Exercise & Excess, which is also preparing to launch a “yoga and mimosas” chapter. For more information, go to www.austinbeerrun.club.

Going the Ultra distance

A mere marathon hardly rates a blip on Amy Bush’s radar. And an Ironman triathlon? She’s done that, six times.

Last week, though, Bush, a 39-year-old systems administrator at the University of Texas, finished an Ultraman — a three-day endurance event designed to wring the last drop of energy out of the toughest of bodies.

On Day 1, she swam 10 kilometers and biked 90 miles.

On Day 2, she biked another 171 miles.

On Day 3, she ran a double marathon — just over 52 miles.

Even after that, she said this: “I’m not really an athlete.”

That may have been true in 2003, when she slogged through the Keep Austin Weird 5K. A year later she entered her first triathlon, the Danskin. By then she was, as they say, hooked.

This year Bush was one of 30 athletes invited to participate in Ultraman Canada, which took place Aug. 2-4 in Penticton, British Columbia.

“I’m a poor cyclist and a decent runner, so once I made it through Day 2 I knew I was going to be OK,” Bush said after returning to Austin. Conditions were unusually hot and dry for the race, which unfolded in the mountains.

“You would hope it would be cooler there, but it was in the mid- to high 90s. … On the second day there’s something called the Wall. You just keep going up and up, and you can’t ever sit because you’re about to fall over,” she said.

The cycling portions of the event — and worrying that she wouldn’t make the 12-hour cutoff each day — were the hardest parts for Bush.

She isn’t the first Austin resident to finish an Ultraman. At least four other athletes can make that claim. But the Ultraman club is a much more elite group than the one made up of Ironman finishers.

“Ironman is so faceless — you’re with 2,500 other people,” Bush said. In an Ultraman event, the competitors all get to know one another. “They’re all cheering for each other. By the end, they’re family.”

She did the event, she says, to prove that she could. “I wasn’t an athlete when I was a kid and I’ve always had confidence problems.”

After the race, each athlete had to give a short speech. Bush told the audience she’d rather go out and run another marathon than speak in public. But she did. Briefly.

Her race was about as perfect as it could get. “Not a single blister, I kept all my toenails, I never threw up,” she said. “Aside from one flat and the heat … I’m almost afraid to think about doing another one, because I think I used all my good karma.”

Calling Turkey Trot artists

Want to see your artwork on this year’s Thundercloud Subs’ Turkey Trot T-shirts?

The annual competition to design the race T-shirt is now open. The winning artwork will appear on 20,000 T-shirts, plus event guides, posters, websites and social media for the 5-mile Thanksgiving Day run. The art contest winner will receive gift certificates for 365 sub sandwiches.

Entry deadline for the art contest is Sept. 6; winner will be announced Sept. 15. For official rules, Turkey Trot registration and more information, go to www.thundercloud.com.


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