What’s better than a free workout? A free workout plus a free beer, of course.
At least that’s the philosophy of Jon Pafk, who launched the East Side Beer Runners about a year ago. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday at Hops & Grain Brewery, 507 Calles Street No. 101, for a quality workout followed by a free glass of beer.
“It’s a great way to continue sharing my passion for great beer, running and fitness, while staying connected to a core part of Austin,” says Pafk, who started the group along with fellow runner Ben Black after the demise of another beer-plus-running club, Pints and PRs.
The workouts vary. Sometimes the group, which includes mostly middle-of-the-packers but a few faster athletes, runs to nearby Yellowjacket Stadium for a track workout. Other days, Pafk and Black lead the members in hill repeats, a simple out-and-back run, or intervals at Fiesta Gardens.
The workouts usually cover between 3 and 5 miles. On National Beer Day in April, the group ran a route that spelled out the word “beer.” On National Running Day, they spelled out “run.” Typically, 15 to 20 runners of mixed speed and assorted ages participate.
“For the most part, it’s recreational runner and folks who are just getting started,” Pafk says. “We like to get a good quality workout in, plus enjoy some of the east side and other folks who enjoy craft beer,” Pafk says.
Pafk, who grew up in Austin, hopes the workouts expose people to the culture and history of the east side of our city. He also says he’d like to increase the diversity of the group’s members.
“It’s been amazing, for better or for worse, to see the evolution of East Austin. Some of the culture has been lost, and I think running there keeps us grounded and connected to Austin,” he says. “Also, it’s nice to find folks who are equally passionate about really good beer and want to work a little bit for it.”