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    When I moved to Portland a year ago, I never imagined that I would run up Munjoy Hill and down Commercial Street in hammer pants accompanied by a runner in a ballerina tutu and another in a Lady Gaga wig. But I did, the night before Halloween. I have also run up Munjoy and down Commercial in the dark, in the pouring rain, and in sideways snow. Why? Because every Thursday night there is a group of runners willing to brave (or in warmer months, enjoy) the elements and wooden barstools waiting at Liquid Riot. In other words: Why? Because Pub Run.

    What is a pub run? The “run” part is pretty basic: it’s a 3 or 5 mile run. The “pub” part starts as runner’s return and head to the bar to rehydrate with their beverage of choice, which can range from water to whiskey but is most often beer.

    It turns out beer has magical motivational powers. Don’t believe me? You can try this at home: ask a friend, “want to go for a run?” Wait for their response. Then ask, “what if we grab a beer after?” Take note of any changes in response and/or enthusiasm. I have found that more often than not, the promise of camaraderie AND a cold one are enough to get people to meet up for a run, even in the worst of conditions.

    This has definitely been the case for Old Port Pub Run, a free running group I started this past summer. I was new to the area at the time and looking for running buddies. I knew there were runners here; I saw plenty of people pounding the pavement on the Eastern Prom Trail and around Back Cove. Approaching strangers while they workout is generally frowned upon. So, I scoured the internet searching for running groups. I searched social media, calendar sections of local publications like mainetoday.com, and even Meetup.com. I found a few groups, but they either race-specific training groups or cost money. Then I realized that a pub run, like the ones I used to do with SIX03 Endurance in New Hampshire, might be the best way to meet other runners in Portland.

    It turns out I was right. Since starting Old Port Pub Run, I have run with college professors, environmental educators, architects, publishers, a tugboat captain, a mechanical engineer, and a software programmer. What do they all have in common? On Thursday nights, they all run up Munjoy and down Commercial and return to the bar for one of Liquid Riot’s “magical” beers.

    Every Thursday Night at 6:15 the Old Port Pub Run takes off from Liquid Riot on 250 Commercial St, Portland, ME. FMI find them on Facebook or on RaceME.us.

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