Spoiler Alert: The Social Network’s Justin Timberlake will not be featured in this blog post. However, there will be plenty of sweat and beer. So, we highly recommend you keep reading …
For better or worse, the days of meeting people for the first time in person are, sadly, few and far between. It seems like we’re more likely to interact with new people online well before we ever look them in the eyes, face to face. We are glued to our computers and cell phones all day, clicking “Like” over and over again online, wasting our days thinking of the best Charlie Sheen wisecrack for our online status updates. Is this really what our lives have become?
Well, just when you thought the “techno-world” was created by Lady Gaga in her ongoing attempt to take over the world, allow me to proudly present the answer to your internet blues: the Fishtown Beer Runners.
What’s the best thing about Fishtown Beer Runners? (Besides the beer, that is.) The inclusive welcoming new runners receive from day one. From the second one arrives, he or she is a “Beer Runner.” In fact, President David April makes it his mission to personally welcome each and every new runner. Every week, there are brand new faces mingling with longtime members, instead of separated cliques. More often than not, the fastest Beer Runners will stand outside the weekly bar, instead of entering right away, in order to cheer on all remaining runners as they make their way to the bar at their own pace.
Beer Runners carrying the Hammer of Glory during Beer Week.
 You don’t receive any club “points” or “badges” for contributing to the Beer Runners. There are no “ultra” members (although there are plenty of ultra-marathoners). There are no membership dues, although buying a Fishtown Beer Runners T-shirt is the “cool” thing to do. (You owe me for that one, David!) Beer Runners don’t wear nametags at events. Instead, Beer Runners naturally mingle with new people, getting to know each other in person first … and then maybe on the internet later. In this “social network age,” it is reassuring to interact with people who enjoy real conversations, instead of being friend-requested, “poked” or winked at online.
The cast of FBR characters is tremendous: from marathoners to new runners training for their first 5k; from Beer Runners who organize runs to local breweries to runners who promote various charitable endeavors. Beer Runners run through ice, snow, and even tornado warnings! Injured Beer Runners can be seen on crutches, huffing and puffing their way to the weekly bar to raise a pint glass with the gang. And, yes, Beer Runners proudly ran through the city streets to the Opening Tap Party for Philly Beer Week last year and even to a reggae (yes, reggae!) concert on St. Patty’s Day this year!
In conclusion, do not “blabbb” (I mean, “blab”) online about yourself all day. (Okay, harmless self-promotion. For more “blabbb” info, see Project Wink) Here’s the idea: Get up and go out, step away from your computers, venture outside for some public interaction, join the Beer Runners each week for great runs and great brews.
The Fishtown Beer Runners: The (Real) Social Network, all due to … The Professor! (And, no, The Professor is not Justin Timberlake.)
See, I told you: No Timberlake references, ladies. 😉
— Lee Porter