Runaways Run Club
When my wife and I moved up to her native Maine from my native Louisiana in January 2017, we had some adjustments to make. The crawfish were ten times bigger, and you had to worry about ice dams instead of levees. We loved drinking good beer, being active, and surrounding ourselves with great people. So that March, she found a free run club on Facebook that met Wednesdays at local breweries in Portland, and we did not run away from the opportunity. It was not only what we wanted, but it was what we needed.
Ken Krogsrud, founder of Runaways Run Club, said, “I thought there would be five people, but we now have 50 people on a Wednesday night.” Originally from California, Ken moved to Portland and was immediately hooked by its connectivity. “I started seeing people on the street I knew, and it felt more connected than separate,” he said. Raised in a very run-centric community, he’s been running ultras (50 or 100 mile races) for nine years, and is now the Race Director for GiddyUp Productions, which coordinates running events.
The brewery connection was forged when Ken befriended Craig Dilger, owner of Foulmouthed Brewing in South Portland. “Our brewery network grew from there,” said Ken. Calling their club “Runaways Run Club,” they have since been all over the Portland area ending up at Foulmouthed, Bunker, the Great Lost Bear, Urban Farm Fermentory, Shipyard Brewing, and Bissell Brothers. Runners have even made it over to Maine Beer Company (Freeport) and Dirigo (Biddeford).
“Brewers here really want that culture and the business,” said Ken. “And, Craig actually brewed a Runaways beer at Foulmouthed, which was a red beer with peaches. I love both red beers and peaches, so it was a refreshing, after-run beer.” Additionally, the Runaways are active in the community as well. For example, they held a fundraiser at Urban Farm Fermentory for Sarah Emerson, a local runner, who was fighting breast cancer.
If you’re an avid runner, don’t let the beer emphasis fool you into thinking these athletes aren’t serious about running. Members will run in artic temperatures or snowstorms. This past winter, we ran in Freeport in single-digit temperatures in the darkness with headlamps; it just made the Mean Old Tom go down even nicer. We also did a brunch run at Becky’s Diner on New Year’s Eve morning, where customers waited outside in heavy winter coats, while we ran up in thermal tights. That perseverance has been good for thickening my Southern blood and crushing my fear that the bitter cold would kill me on contact.
No matter if you’re quick as Hermes or slow as Hades, there’s a spot for you at Runaways Run Club. Even if you don’t like beer (chances are that you do because why else would you read a beer magazine?) they have several weekly non-beer related trail runs. They also have a strong presence at local races, so look for them at the Old Port Marathon and the L.L. Bean Trail Running Festival at Pineland Farms. “It’s completely free,” Ken said. “Just show up. Reach out on Facebook and Instagram. We all have a great time, and that’s how we’ve grown. It’s not the beer or the running. It’s the people.
— Text: John Breerwood. John is a cellarman at Shipyard Brewing Company and is currently trying to get his first novel published. He and his wife Madelyn had their first child last February.