Next time you’re trying to get off the couch to burn some calories, try reaching for a beer — or get yourself nice and hung over to motivate a trip to the gym. The doctors agree; according to a national survey, drinking is associated with a 10 percent increase in “exercising vigorously.” Maybe that's why so many bar-sponsored fitness clubs have popped up around the city. Denver Beer Co. run club attendee Kristina Byrd says it best: “If you want to have a life of drinking, you'd better put in some work to stay in shape.”
What Pub on Pearl runner Craig Jacko calls “shame” is another solid motivation. When feeling foggy from the night before, it’s time to sweat out the “moral hangover.”
Whatever your incentive, you'll have more fun working off the alcohol at boozy meet-ups where you can break a sweat and treat yourself to a beer (or cocktail, at some places) afterward. Here are seven of our favorite run clubs.
1. The Pub on Pearl
1101 South Pearl Street
When: Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
How long: 5K
The perks: Two-for-one Bud Light
It’s no surprise that the weekend crowds toting volleyball nets and 3.2 beers to Wash Park are also attracted to this mid-week run. It seems that this crew has a special bond with a hangover-cure workout, as well as being motivated by booze. “Running is my go-to when I’m hung over,” weekly attendee Madeline Dunn admits. “I’ve almost fallen off a treadmill before, for sure.” Luckily, her boyfriend, Luke Duncan, a master’s student in bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver, attends weekly to keep her upright — and to stay in shape. “There are a lot of studies out there saying that fit people drink more than non-fit people,” he says. While frat tanks may come in large numbers on the hot days here, more polished neighborhood stalwarts partake in the two-for-one Bud Light special, too.
2. Wahoo’s Fish Taco
225 East 20th Avenue
When: Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m.
How long: 3 or 5 miles
The perks: Free #1 combo and happy-hour pricing all night
A more intimate group, this club sees anywhere between twenty and forty runners a week, while the rest of the list sees upwards of fifty people for each session. The Wahoo’s group meets at 6:15 p.m. for a run around City Park, and afterward they push enough tables together to all have dinner together. Best of all, Wahoo’s provides a free #1 Combo — one taco or enchilada with rice and beans — for everyone. “It’s definitely a social club with a running component,” run-club organizer Greg Hawke says. “And we’re all margarita drinkers.” The group keeps a relaxed pace, and most all enjoy a dollar-off margarita deal for the family-style dinner.
3. Denver Beer Co.
1695 Platte St.
When: Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.
How long: 5K
The perks: Free pasta and salad buffet
Close to the downtown area, this run is rampant with business-savvy, outdoorsy young professionals. As with most clubs, members say they come for the social aspect. Dee Henry, who moved to Denver just four months ago, came to meet people with similar passions: running and beer. She's just looking to make new friends — but that’s not the case for everyone. Meeting your match at a run club is not a far-off dream. A couple got engaged during a weekly run this year, paying homage to where they met, according to long-time bartender Patrick Woodruff. Denver’s mobile Italian bistro Brava Pizza provides a free pasta and salad buffet afterward, where couples can savor noodles Lady and the Tramp-style.
4. Highland Tap and Burger
2219 West 32nd Ave.
When: Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m.
How long: 5K or 10K
The perks: Free
This blizzard-or-shine meet-up stops for no one. It's the only free club with 5K and 10K options, so runners can pick their pleasure. The 10K group is generally full of those training for some impressive marathon or another. "It could almost be a race pace,” says organizer Jenni Nettik. For this seriously dedicated squad, host Highland
Keep reading for more boozy run clubs...
5. The Irish Snug
1201 East Colfax Avenue
When: Thursdays at 6:15 p.m.
How long: 5K
The perks: Complimentary pasta, salad and garlic bread
It’s not difficult to find a club member clad in a “100-runs” T-shirt, awarded to those who have hit the centennial mark for the Snug Run Club meet-ups. Pub co-owner Frank McLaughlin launched the club nearly ten years
Tip: Before you go, register on the run club's website.
6. bRUNch Running
For specific dates and times, check the schedule on the club's website.
When: Every other Sunday at 9 a.m. from April to October
How long: 5K or 10K
The perks: Discounted brunch and beverages
While $25 may sound steep (especially on this list), it will score you an entree from some of Denver’s finest eateries, like Linger or Lou’s Food Bar, plus two adult (or virgin, if you must) beverages. Started by two Colorado race-runners, Cortney
7. Trails, Tails & Ales
For specific dates and times, join the club's Facebook group.
When: Every Saturday (sort of)
How long: Varied
The perks: It’s better than trail running alone
“We’re just a group of dirtbags that like dogs,