After having to cancel its last three events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Poulsbo Beer Run is back Saturday and is seeing a lot of interest.
Race director Lynette George said 496 people have registered for the event. Knowing that COVID rates are rising, George said they are limiting the number of participants to 500, and that they have added three additional locations to help spread out everyone, and the event is outside which helps.
“There will only be like 50 people at each location,” she said. “We have plenty of sanitizers and precautions that we’re taking to make sure that we don’t spread this.”
George said the local beer run has been going on for about 10 years and they hold two each year — one for St. Patrick’s Day and the other for Oktoberfest. She said it initially started with just Slippery Pig, Valholl and Sound breweries but now they also have Rainy Daze, Western Red, Echoes, Silver City, Hood Canal, Slaughter County and Bainbridge Brewing.
The beer run consists of each participant running or walking the 4-mile path and stopping at the brewery locations along the way, drinking a total of 10 six-ounce beers before finishing the race. There are maps at each tasting location that show the route to the next location. At the conclusion, everyone will receive a finisher’s prize, which will be a 16 ounce Poulsbo Beer Run glass.
Participants start at 8 a.m. but are staggered into smaller groups that take off 10 minutes apart in efforts to space people out and to not overcrowd the brewery locations. Before starting, each person has to drink their first beer.
The event may sound a little dangerous to some, but George assured that people don’t have to drink all the beer and they don’t have to run if they don’t want to.
“Most of them don’t run; most of them walk,” she said. “It’s just to enjoy the friendships they make and the people they’re with. There are some diehard runners that do the run.”
Additionally, George said she emailed all the participants safety tips to make sure they have a designated driver who can take them home afterward. In case people consume too much beer, there will be volunteers that could help. In past events, she said that hasn’t been much of a problem.
“Everybody is extremely responsible,” George said. “A lot of them are runners, and they’re pretty smart about their bodies so they know what they can do and not do.”
Proceeds go toward the Blue Star Banner Program, which George started in 2006. BSBP honors local military members by displaying Blue and Gold Star banners throughout communities statewide. Blue Star banners mean they are active duty and Gold Star banners mean they were killed during active duty. Particularly in Poulsbo, all the banners are displayed on Viking Avenue where the beer run will be held. George said there are two Gold Star banners in Poulsbo.
Looking forward, George hopes to expand the event so other businesses can get involved. But supporting local breweries is a primary goal of the event, especially during the pandemic.
“I think we should always try and support local,” she said.