It was a beautiful spring afternoon on Ruston Way for April’s South Sound Running Pub Run. Though a bit blustery, the sun was shining and visibility was high. It was a perfect day to run, meet new people, win some great prizes, and finish the night off with an ice cold beer. After all, that’s what the Pub Run is all about.

South Sound Running has been hosting Pub Runs on Ruston Way since the summer of 2016, and has been hosting them at the Puyallup location well before that. Yet these monthly events are a long way from how it all began.

South Sound Running Pub Run
Pub Runs are for anyone 21 and over who like to run and drink beer. Photo credit: Ben Crabtree

“The Pub Run was born out of a need for consistent group runs with a larger attendance,” says South Sound Running sales associate and Pub Run promoter Zachary Boyd-Helm. “We had a weekly run every Wednesday, and it was difficult because so few people would show up. It left those who came not wanting to return because there was no one to run with! The nice thing about having something that is only once a month, is that it is something that people can look forward to, but don’t have to commit to.”

The Pub Runs at South Sound Running start at 6:00 the store. There’s a signup sheet to log visits (those who participate in four Pub Runs get a fancy South Sound Running pint glass) and a jar to put your name in for the raffle. “Normally we bring in a representative from one of the brands that we carry so that people have a chance to try upcoming products,” says Boyd-Helm. “Last month we had Saucony come and they brought a couple pairs of their shoes, and some people were actually able to do their run in them. It’s an event where we can connect runners to the brands that they like.”

Tacoma Pub Run
Four pub runs wins you a South Sound Running pint glass. Photo credit: Zachary Boyd-Helm

After the check in and a brief discussion of the route, it’s time to hit the trail. The runs range anywhere between three to five miles along Ruston Way and/or through Point Defiance. The views are breathtaking, the conversation light and positive, the pace as variable as you want it to be. Since the Pub Runs encourage runners of all abilities, it is not uncommon for participants to round back early for those that are not quite up to those distances yet. There are no judgments in this running community. This isn’t a race to the finish, but rather a celebration of the journey itself.

Following a peaceful jaunt along the Puget Sound, participants meet up once again at the store for the raffle. The prizes for the raffles are surprisingly valuable, including new running shoes, movie tickets, a free pizza at Farrelli’s Pizza, and a night of drinks paid for. Each month, South Sound Running also raffles off a $50 gift card to the store.

Following the raffle, the group shuffles off to a nearby watering hole, such as Farrelli’s Pizza or Two Town Pub & Cafe, for a well-deserved round of beers. “What better beverage to enjoy after running three to five miles on a hot day?” jokes Boyd-Helm. “Usually it’s fun conversation with food, and meeting people you might not usually interact with. We know that running can be fun. Running with people is better. Going for a run with people, and sitting down somewhere after is downright satisfying. Running is one of those activities where you can’t do much but talk. There aren’t many platforms out there that enable someone to just relax and talk for an hour, about anything and everything. The pub at the end is an extension of that.”

Tacoma Running Group
There’s nothing quite like a beer and a slice after a run. Photo credit: Daniel Beers

“It’s a great way to meet people you wouldn’t normally meet,” says Lori Maddox, two-year veteran of the Pub Runs who tries to hit runs at both the Ruston and Puyallup locations. “I like the social aspect, as well as getting the exercise.”

Participant Kathryn Flyte, who has recently been training to run the Tacoma City Marathon, agrees. “Pub Runs bring people together with a common lifestyle,” she says. “It’s always nice to see familiar faces. It’s a non-threatening way to get to know someone.”

Anyone who is looking for a group likeminded runners and imbibers owes it to themselves to check out one of the monthly South Sound Running Pub Runs. The events are free, no experience is necessary, and the community is friendly and encouraging. Plus at the end of it all, there’s beer!

South Sound Running Pub Runs are held on the last Wednesday of each month at 6:00 the Point Ruston location located at 5109 Grand Loop, Tacoma, WA 98407. They are also held at the last Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Puyallup location located at 115 S Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371.

Runners of all levels aged 21 and up are welcome. For more information about specific dates, check the Pub Run website here.

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